Crochet Crazy

Life has been busy, but is calming down for the moment.  Fall is easing in with leaves changing colors and cooler weather.  It’s the perfect time of year for working on craft projects, some practical and some gift projects for Christmas.  I thought I’d share a few of my recent crochet projects.  Maybe you’ll find something you’d like to make.

This is a scarf I made using the  free Vanilla Bean Scarf pattern found over on the Fiber Flux…Adventures in Stitching blog.

Completed Scarf

Completed Scarf

Additional Row on Flat End

Additional Row on Flat End

I love it!  This scarf works up incredibly quick and is beautiful.  I used the Caron Simply Soft yarn with no dye lot, which is my favorite.  I experimented and added 1 row onto the beginning row, which ends up flat in the original pattern.  To make it more wavy, I joined the yarn at the end of the beginning row and chained 3.  In the larger openings of each set of (2dc, ch2, 2dc), I worked 2dc, ch2, 2dc.  At the end of the row I did a dc in the last stitch, finished off, and wove in the end.  I’m still thinking about maybe weaving a piece of ribbon through the larger holes and tacking down the ends of the ribbon with a few stitches.

Another crochet project I completed in just a short time the other day was a small change purse.  I’ve been looking for one and finally just decided to make one.  I crocheted it using a very small ball of leftover cotton yarn, like you make dishcloths out of, and a size C hook.  Here’s my original pattern I created, which is crocheted in one piece.  It does include a little sewing to stitch the sides together and sewing on the button.

Change Purse

Change Purse

Opened Change Purse

Opened Change Purse

Change Purse Pattern

ch 17
row 1:  sc in 2nd ch from hook and sc in each ch across. (16 sc)

row 2:  ch 1, turn, sc in each sc across.

Repeat row 2 till piece measures about 4 inches, do not finish off.

Next row:  ch 1, turn, dec, sc across to last 2 sc, dec; repeat this row till only 6 sc remain

Last row: ch 1, turn, dec, ch 3, skip next 2 sc(makes loop for button closure), dec, finish off

Forming the change purse:  Weave in any remaining loose ends.   Stitching is done using 6 strands embroidery floss in a needle with a large hole.  You could use a matching color, but I used contrasting thread for a decorative touch.  Fold bottom of piece(1st row) up to last row prior to 1st dec row.  Holding together, I blanket stitched through both layers all around; beginning at the top side of the formed pouch, across the bottom, and up along the next side.  Do not finish off, but continue to blanket stitch around the single layer that makes the envelope type flap.  Be sure not to stitch the button loop closed.  Finish off.  Fold the flap down to help determine where to stitch the button on the pocket.  I’m not sure what size button as I just used one I thought was pretty from my button jar.

*Simple sewing version would be to just sew the sides together and sew on the button.*

These are a couple of the projects I’ve completed recently, but I have several other projects in the works.  I’m working on an afghan and some baby clothes for the new grandbaby on the way.  I just started a Creative Crochet board over on Pinterest for project ideas I think are interesting and I’d like to make.  Happy Crocheting!  🙂

 

 

Along the Path

Heart-shaped cloud

Heart-shaped cloud (Photo credit: aivas14)

Every now and then it seems like something just happens with such perfect timing.  I don’t happen to be always looking for something.  It just happens to land in my path.  Last year, before she moved, our pastor’s wife shared with me a free daily devotion I could sign up to receive via email from Proverbs 31 Ministries.  I have to admit some days I just let them sit untouched in my inbox, but some days the little message calls to my heart and I open it up to read more.  Today was one of those days and it was so what I needed to hear.

The title of the devotion today was Desperate Prayers of a Despairing Parent.  Yep, I could say that title fit me to a tee as of late.  I hope you’ll read it.  It offered me a little much needed encouragement and wisdom. In case you do not know and you probably don’t as I haven’t blogged about it, unless you’re one of those that knows us very personally.  My blogging’s been off lately, because of a case of brokenhearted mama-itis.  My daughter has hit adulthood and moved to Tennessee.  I miss her terribly.  I want the best for her as any parent wants for their children, but it seems so distant at the present.

It seems and I’m having to learn this the hard way, we can desperately love our children, but ultimately God loves them so much more.  Once our children leave our hands, we have to rest in the thought that they are in His hands.  They always have been.  We are just blessed to borrow them for a bit.  I have a hard time with the letting go part.  It’s so hard that the only things to do are just be there for them, love them, hope for them, and pray they will be okay at least; but not be able to fix things or somehow give them a definitive choice as to what the right answer for their lives is.

Beautiful by Mercy Me is a song I love and I always think of my daughter when I hear it.  The lyrics are something I hope she always remembers and can see.

My faith has been floundering, but continues to hang on and God keeps putting things in my path.  He so knows what I need, even though I often have no clue.  I’m so glad He is so much more patient than I am.  I’ve been thinking a lot, so here’s a poem I wrote a few days ago :

Needing You

I know of Your might
I know of Your strength
I see it every day
I know You have some plan
I just wish You’d give me an inkling today
If not, then just a little peace
Or some understanding along the way
I know not what to ask anymore
The way has become muddled
It’s even become difficult to pray
I don’t ask for things or the moon
I know my life is Yours to do with as You may
I just need Your help
To carry on, along this difficult road today

Cookies, Flowers, and Flops

Life has been busy and I’ve been working a little more, so there has been less time for my other favorite pursuits.  Oh, well, I’m just taking things day by day.  Thought I would share a bit from the kitchen and the great outdoors.  I’ll always somehow manage to find time for baking and gardening.

I love to try new recipes and am usually very good at following a recipe.  Every now and then I have a recipe flop.  I couldn’t figure out my flop till just now while writing this post, but oh well.  I made these lemon coconut cookies the other day and I love the flavor as well as it’s a nice chewy cookie.  It didn’t take long to get the dough ready and then it just has to chill in the fridge for at least an hour before you make them.

Lemon Coconut Cookies

Lemon Coconut Cookies

The batch of cookies I made did not raise the way they were supposed to, but I think I forgot to put the baking powder in, so no wonder the cookies didn’t raise up properly.  You can find the recipe over at the Once Upon a Recipe blog.  Even flopped, the flavor was so good I’m for giving it another try.

Another flop has been my garden.  It’s not done as well as I had hoped this year.  It’s probably a combination of not enough rain, maybe not enough fertilizer, poor dirt, and at present has a bit of excess weed growth.  I think I will start pulling up some things soon, which are done producing and see if I can’t start some plants for a fall garden.  Here’s a photo of my one sunflower, which grew this year.  It’s beautiful!

Sun Flower

Sun Flower

Squash, Zucchini, and Projects for the Day

Flower of the zucchini plant.

Flower of the zucchini plant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We finally had some much needed rain last night.  Some time after supper it began raining and it rained for hours.  I could hear it just pouring outside.  This is wonderful for the garden and I won’t have to water the garden today.  It’s also cooled it off nicely outside.

As you probably know, I planted the garden a little on the late side, so we haven’t had a chance to enjoy much from it other than a few salad greens and some herbs.  Well, we are finally getting a bit more from the garden.  Last night we had fried squash and onions with squash fresh from the garden.  It took a few days to get enough squash, but it was worth it.  There will be tomatoes and jalapenos soon too.

I have a couple of zucchini, which we decided not to fix in with the squash.  I’m thinking about making zucchini bread.  I love the taste of zucchini bread, I’ve just never made any.  This means finding a recipe and grinding some wheat.  The recipe will be easy and I’ll probably end up modifying it.  I usually do.  The wheat will take a bit more work.

I am blessed to have an electric mill, but the thing is so loud it sounds like an aircraft taking off.  It also spews flour dust in the kitchen even though I’ve changed the filter.  I’m not sure why it continues to do this.  The solution I’ve come up with to take care of both these problems is to grind the wheat outdoors.  I just plug the mill up to an extension cord outdoors and lug a pail of wheat out too.  It’s not so loud since it’s not in an enclosed space and who cares if you get a little wheat dust on the grass.

So I guess I have at least a few projects to work on today.  I’m going to add to the list, because I’ve realized I need to do a bit of garden research to answer some questions.  As I was doing my usual morning garden walk around, I thought of a few things I didn’t know the answer to.  One, would be if carrots and onions grow in the ground, how do you know when they are ready?  I’m also wondering how long do eggplant plants take to reach maturity?

If you’ve read some of my past blog posts, you might recall that the big garden is a bit of an experimental garden.  I’ve been playing around with companion planting and trying to grow some things I’ve never attempted to grow before, such as watermelons and pumpkins.  I’m going to try to keep notes, so I know what worked and what didn’t.  For example, I know in our garden dirt, beets and bunching onions don’t seem to like it.  Neither would grow this year.  One of the things I thought interesting about Thomas Jefferson was learning he kept journals about his gardens.

P.S. – How’s that for easy?  Found a couple of zucchini bread recipes(found below) as I was finishing up this post.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve learned while gardening?  Any experiments in your garden this year?…

Garden Vegetables…Fresh Produce Begins…

The garden is not producing a lot right now, but it’s beautiful.  Thought I would share some photos. I just came in a little bit ago from checking on the garden and doing a little weeding. Luckily I have not had much deer or rabbit damage this year.  Something nibbled a few leaves from one zucchini and one okra plant, but the plants look like they’ll be fine.  Here are some of the vegetables I picked this morning, a zucchini and a couple of squash.

Zucchini and Squash

Zucchini and Squash

This is the first year I’ve tried to grow watermelon and I’m so excited.  There are a few baby watermelons on the vines.  Here is the largest baby “sugar baby” watermelon in the garden. It’s about the size of a half dollar so far.  You can also see how hard and rough our soil is, but at least some things still manage to grow and feel at home in it.

A Baby "Sugar Baby" Watermelon

A Baby “Sugar Baby” Watermelon

Tomatoes are my favorite in a garden.  This year I planted roma and beefsteak tomatoes.  Here are a few of the roma tomatoes getting a little bigger.  I’ve been enjoying tomato sandwiches with greenhouse tomatoes from our favorite farmer friend, but I can’t wait to eat some with a fresh tomato straight off the vine.

Roma Tomatoes

Roma Tomatoes

 

 

Daughter’s 18th Birthday Wish…Beach Trip

My wonderful daughter Selena turned 18 this Sunday.  Her simple birthday wish was to take a trip to the beach.  Her, her boyfriend, her dad, and I all went.  The dogs were kept by family and friends. We went to our favorite beach, Atlantic Beach on the North Carolina coast. It’s the place we’ve gone since she was little though it’s been a few years.

We left for our trip on Sunday afternoon and it appeared the weather may not cooperate.  We had wind, rain, lightning, and saw many places without power on the way down.  We were fortunate and the storm had subsided by the time we reached our hotel in Havelock.  We ate supper, then swam in the hotel pool till 10:00pm when it closed.  The water was so nice and warm.

Early yesterday morning we finally made it to Atlantic Beach!  It was absolutely wonderful as it wasn’t too hot and there were not many people.  The water was a bit rough, but we almost stayed in it the whole time we were there.  It was so nice to swim, splash a little, and just bounce with the waves.  We even got to see a couple of pelicans swooping down trying to catch some food.  My daughter fed the seagulls.

We got ice cream from the snack shack at the beach before heading back.  She had the “screwball” ice cream she remembered from when she was younger.  The pale pink and blue one in a plastic cone with a gumball in the bottom.  One more quick stop at “Wings”, the beach souvenir shop, where she got a key chain.  It was a water filled key chain with sand and shells.

We’re back, but it was a fantastic trip.  Here are some photos(most were taken by my daughter, she’s great at photography and has a good eye) :

Selena feeding the seagulls...

Selena feeding the seagulls…

Ocean Waves

Ocean Waves

Selena and her Daddy

Selena and her Daddy

Lots of shells on the beach...

Lots of shells on the beach…

Me on the beach

Me on the beach

Lovely Beach View

Lovely Beach View

Garden Helpers…

There has been more rain and warmth, which is helping the garden to blossom.  The tomato plants are getting nice and tall with more flowers.  The other plants are growing taller as well, but not flowering just yet.  I can’t wait to be able to start eating some vegetables fresh from the garden. 

I usually go out first thing in the morning to look over the garden to see how it’s doing and make sure the deer or rabbits haven’t caused any damage.  I’m the early riser in the house, so it’s my chance for a bit of peace.  Our dog Savanna enjoys keeping me company and likes to wander about the garden as well. 

Gardening with Savanna

Gardening with Savanna

Yesterday evening it rained, but I managed to get a few gardening tasks done while it was still cool.  I put up a support for the cucumbers.  Next, my daughter and her boyfriend gave me a hand putting up the support for the green beans.  We barely made it, but managed to get done before the rain started.

Both supports were made from pieces of found fencing from previous gardening years.  We used pieces of twine to tie the sections of fencing to plastic stakes pressed in the ground.  The stakes are the black ones about 3 feet tall with a piece sticking out at the base above the spike, which is used to press your foot onto make it go into the ground.  We got them at the Tractor Supply store a couple of years ago.

The other thing we got done yesterday was to move the swing.  It’s under a nice tall tree for shade in the front yard and is in a good position for a nice view of the garden.  Love the swing!  No picture of the supports or the swing, I’ll have to post one another day, but here’s one of the largest squash plant in my garden. 

Squash

Squash