Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sow When You Can

Tony and Teo started attending Tae Kwon Do classes in March. Within the first couple weeks of them starting up, Charles started attending classes with them. Tony and Teo only go on Tues and Thurs nights, but Charles goes every night. Over time Tony started telling me about 'Charles this' and 'Charles that', in class. Tony and Charles had started to become friends.

Then it was time to test for their yellow belts. I happened to be in Wisconsin for three weeks, so Stefani had to stand in for me with taking pictures, etc. While at the testing with the boys, she had the chance to meet Charles' Charlie. By that, I mean, Charles has a little boy named Charlie. She fell in love. He, apparently, was also testing in the Pee Wee classes for his yellow belt and when they would call out his name "Charles..something, something..the Third"...he would run over into position and say "Yes, Suw", as Charlie is only 4. She described him to me "big blue eyes, blond hair, chubby cheeks, just the cutest little boy EVER"...teenagers have such expressive ways of describing things. I just knew that I had to meet this little boy. So as soon as I got back from Wisconsin, we all went to class with Tony and Teo. My inlaws were down and wanted to see them in class too, so they came along. Everyone got to meet Charlie that night.....and we all fell in love. Stefani and I discussed it and decided that we would start going on Tues and Thurs nights to help watch Charlie so Charles could attend his adult class without having to worry about Charlie and whether or not he was behaving.

I have learned so much about Charlie. I have learned he loves the color green. He has a sister Cate who is 1. His mommy has another baby in her tummy and that baby is 1. If it's a boy his name will be Ben, but if it's a girl, her name will be Chelly...with a C. He has an Ami and Apa, whom he misses very much. When daddy was on a loooooooooooonnnnnggggg Army trip he saw them every day. But, since daddy came back and they came down here, he has only seen them once (insert downcast eyelids and sad expression of a 4 year old here). When he is excited, his blue eyes sparkle and his smile gets big with dimples and his voice gets louder and louder and when you say "shhh, Charlie, not too loud"...he keeps talking but he gets down in a conspiratorial huddle and whispers really loud. He loves his Nintendo DS and plays the Legend of Zelda. I, who knew nothing about it other than it is a very popular game, asked him..."So is that Zelda?" He just kept right on pushing buttons and said "No...that's Link". So I asked him "Link?" and he responded with an exasperated sigh "Yes, Link. He saves the Princess."....Ahh, yes...saves the Princess...why didn't I know that? lol. He, also, LOVES comic book characters and carries around a little backpack with Spiderman on the front and the inside full of little figurines. And he will tell you all about them. His information database could rival my 15 year old's.....seriously. Charlie loves to talk. Last week, we shared some sugar free mints. Apparently, they were "wishes". He would wish on each one and sit there and lick it. You know how small a sugar free mint is...... He was very sticky. His daddy didn't realize that the mint he was licking on at the end of class was not the same one he was licking on at the beginning of class, so he sort of barked at him and said "either put those in your mouth or throw them out". Later Charles told me that Charlie said to him in the car.."You made me eat my wishes."....and Charles, after finding out that the mints were wishes that Charlie was relating to his Disney experience, felt so bad. LOL. When he told me this, I had to relieve his misery. I told him "don't feel too badly. he had about 20 wishes that night!" After that he felt better. :-)

Turns out Charles in in the Army and he has been stationed in Pensacola for a very short time. Apparently, shorter than even he was expecting. What was supposed to be a longer stay turns into a "moving on" in August. He is being stationed in Georgia now. I can see that living in Pensacola is going to have its painful times. Just when you get to know someone that you would like to continue to have in your life, they have to go. So.....we will sow friendship while we can.

Little kids give me an opportunity to break out old patterns that I love and try new patterns out. I decided to make Charlie and Cate some toys. Cate is, actually, almost 2. Her birthday is in August or September and so is Charlie's.

I decided to make Cate a doll I've made a hundred times, at least. She's a sturdy thing that will last through all the love a 2 year old can dish out. Her pattern can be found in an old Annie's Crochet Newsletter. It's the May-June 1989, No. 39 issue. Here is the link to one I found on Amazon. The pattern is called "Beth and Baby". I have tweaked it a little to suit my style and I make different clothes. But, the pattern is worth the money to buy the book. At one point in my life, I misplaced my original copy of this book. I went on a mad hunt to find it again, paid too much on Ebay for a replacement issue....then I found the original. :-/
For Charlie, I made a "Link" doll. Here is the free pattern for this one. This is a beautiful set. Complete with accessories and extra characters. I just made Link and his weapons. That was enough. The pattern turns out well, but unless you are well versed in making's very hard to follow and from time to time is missing chunks of information. But, if you want to muscle's a beautiful set. And it's worth clicking on the link just to go look at the set made by the designer. She did a beautiful job. :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Answer to the Really Important Questions

This is no time for fear
This is a time for faith and determination
Don't lose the vision here
Carried away by emotion
Hold on to all that you hide in your heart
There is one thing that has always been true
It holds the world together

God is in control
We believe that His children will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose to remember and never be shaken
There is no power above or beside Him, we know
God is in control, oh God is in control

History marches on
There is a bottom line drawn across the ages
Culture can make its plan
Oh, but the line never changes
No matter how the deception may fly
There is one thing that has always been true
It will be true forever

He has never let you down
Why start to worry now?
He is still the Lord of all we see
And He is still the loving Father
Watching over you and me

watching over you...watching over me..
watching over every things..
watching over you..watching over me..
every little sparrow..every little things...

~Twila Paris

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tiny Pets & Pet House Toy Bag Pattern!

Hey all! Seems like it's been forever in coming, but I've finally completed the Tiny Pets and Pet House Toy Bag! I'm excited to be able to present you with another free pattern. It took about 6 hours for me to get the instructions typed out and the pictures taken and cropped, etc, so if you find any typos or issues with the pattern, have mercy! :) Just let me know and I'll be happy to figure out where the pattern may have gone wonky.

House bag

The gang

The caretaker

The puppy

The kitty

The macaw

The turtle

The mouse/muskrat

I decided that, while I have a few names picked out for these little critters, you will have to give them the names that make you happy. :) You can dowload the FREE PDF on my website! 

Hope you enjoy!! :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Busy Weekend

After getting some of those bigger projects completed (ya know, the ones that hang around making you feel guilty), I feel like I'm finally free to get back in a toy making groove.

This weekend I've kept myself busy by finishing up a barn bag and characters. The pictures are not amazing. Teo calls Chuck, the horse, 'Chuck Marley' cuz his hair reminds him of dreds. My kids broke out into an impromptu rendition of Bob Marley's 'Everything's Gonna Be Alright'. Complete with a reggae beat coming out of some very white children. They bring me great joy. :-)

I am also completing a fantasy castle set for a castle I had made months ago. Just have the dragon left to complete.

I was requested by a girl at church to make her some ear covers for her headset at work. The little blue discs are what I came up with. We will be testing them out this week. If they work....I shall be posting the pattern.

One last comment. I just saw a commercial for a remake of Total Recall. I remember the original with Arnold Schwarzenegger. I loved that movie back in the day. I haven't been able to watch it in a few years because I just can't put up with the language anymore. Here's my thought/question: Has anyone noticed the onslaught of remakes?? Are all of the original ideas gone?? Did they run out?? You have to be completely desperate to remake Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. IMHO. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Beginnings of My Garden

So, this is the beginning of my Florida gardening. The ground here is so sandy I don't want to plant in it and I am only renting this house, so I don't want to put in garden beds, etc. Instead, I decided to plant in planters. Home Depot was running low on the herb choices when I stopped in so, I picked up two basils; a sweet and a boxwood, a regular sage and a greek oregano. I, also, picked up some mexican heather (those are the low plants with tiny purple flowers) and this other flower...I can never remember the name. Pentos? Penthos? Pathos?...??

My "garden" has grown quite a bit since this picture was taken. This shows everybody freshly planted. Since then we have had a TON of rain and lots and lots of humidity. The sage absolutely loves the weather and has grown about 2" already, as well as, the flowers. I have used the basils and the oregano in a marinade I made with fresh fruit for a pork loin. I thought it was a smashing success. I am looking forward to homemade pesto soon. Just need to pick up some nuts and fresh parmesan.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Let the panic commence.....

Yes. That is what you think it is. I have jumped off of the ship and into the ocean. It's time for Biz to get her Associates Degree in Business once and for all. She has been putting this off for more years than she cares to count, so now...let the panic commence.

She has no idea why she is talking in the third person......??

I am currently working through all of the financial aid issues/stuff and we will see where I land. Karen is my admissions advisor.....I reaaaallllyyyy like her! She is SO helpful and nice.

If you are interested in going back to school, click on the picture up's a link. :)

Tah for now.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Perdido Key Inspired Afghan

This is based off of my Do It Your Way Afghan pattern. I increased the squares to 4 rows instead of 3 and added a border to the blanket. One row sc, one row hdc and one row shell stitch. The shell stitch link is to a solid shell blanket, but the basic premise of how I did my shell stitch row is there. I had to fudge on a couple of corners because my numbers didn't work out perfectly. I also put 5dc into the corner ch2's.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Deep Dish Cherry Pie with Almond Crumble

This pie is actually an amalgamation of a couple different recipes. I knew I wanted a cherry crumble, kind of like a dutch apple only better. So I went searching for recipes. Cooking is kind of like putting an outfit together. You just keep ripping stuff out of your closet till you find a combination that works. Pie Crust:
I used the single pie crust recipe from my Mom's Better Homes and Gardens cookbook circa 1968, but here is a link to a single pie crust in case you don't happen to own a cookbook with a pie crust recipe in it.
*Tips for a flaky crust
DO NOT OVERWORK the crust!

This may seem like cheating...I assure you it is, if you are a purist...If you are like me, you call it an ingenious lifesaver....
2 cans Cherry Pie Filling. :)
However, if you feel extremely creative and want to make your own pie filling, here is the link for a sour cherry pie. (actually the recipe I nabbed the crumble top from)

Almond Crumble Topping:
I had to make adjustments to this recipe as I did not have all of the cool stuff available to me that she did. *Link to original*
1 cup all purpose flour (original called for 1/2 oat flour, 1/2 all purpose)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (original called for 1/4, but we like cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 small pkg slivered almonds, chopped (original called for 3/4 cup unsalted whole almonds, coarsely ground in a food processor or chopped medium fine by hand.....we didn't have that)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Ok. Once I worked up my pie crust, I transferred it into a deep dish pie pan. I followed the directions for blind baking (which means stabbing the crust with a fork so it doesn't puff up and cooking it for about 12 minutes @ 375. you want your pie crust browned and "firm"). You do this so you don't end up with "soggy bottoms", as Julia Child would say. Once my pie crust was cooled, I poured my 2 cans of cherry filling in and covered with the crumble generously. I cooked the pie @ 375 for another 20-30 minutes or until the crumble was browned and the cherries were bubbly.

Let it cool and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Back in Florida

I have returned to the land of sunshine. It's been 80's-90's and HUMID! I refuse to complain about the weather because this is what I asked for and this is what I got. I do tend to get cranky when I'm out in it too much.

I came back with my in-laws. My mother-in-law retired on June 1st and we hopped in the car and headed to Florida. It was a pleasant trip down, even if the second 10 hour day seemed to take forever and every slow/stupid/inconsiderate driver decided they needed to pull out in front of me in the fast lane and make me slow down. Didn't they understand that I was on my way home and I needed to see my family?!? LOL In a short answer, No. So, I dealt with them. I've been home for 4-1/2 days so far and I still feel like I've been pulled through a knothole backwards without lubrication. I'm being a good girl and starting back on my Herbalife shakes and vitamins today because, frankly, they give me energy, make me feel good and help me lose weight.

My crocheting and knitting have suffered. Really suffered. I kept myself a little busy while in WI making a few things. Once I hit the car coming home, Fuhgetaboutit!! I was busy keeping myself from being nauseous and needing to take dramamine. Me...and cars...we don't get along. I am beginning to feel that "twinge" in my fingertips again though.

I returned home to happy faces, an ecstatic dog, a clean house and dead/almost dead plants. I guess you can't have it all. LOL

I'm working on getting my garden I'll be posting more soon.