Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tiny Hearts Doll Blanket - Free Pattern!

Have you been "busting" your stash?  As promised here is another stash buster project for our Stash Buster Thursday.  This is my own creation, I thought I would try my hand at writing a crochet pattern.  Hope you like it.
This little doll blanket was made from small amounts (golf ball size) balls of left over yarn from other projects.  It is the perfect way to use up some of those smaller balls, and makes a sweet gift for that little girl in your life.




Copyright ã  2013 by Dale Graumann.
For your own personal use only.  You are free to make this pattern as many times as you wish for yourself or for gifts but you may not sell items made from this pattern.  Please do not copy or post pattern on other web sites, you may pass on the URL so others may view this pattern here..



Size H crochet hook
Small amounts of worsted weight yarn in colors of your choice.


ROW 1:
Sc in second chain from hook and in the next 7 chains across (8sc)
Ch1 turn.

ROW 2:
1 sc in first sc and in each stitch across (8sc)
Ch1 turn.

Repeat ROW 2 for six (6) more rows until you have a square piece (8rows of 8sc).  3sc in last stitch of the last row.



We are now going to do a foundation sc row all around the square.  Do not turn but continuing along the end of the square work 6 sc evenly across the end of the square.  3sc in corner stitch.  1sc in each of the next 6 stitches.  3sc in next corner stitch.  6 sc evenly spaced across the end of the square.  3 sc in next corner stitch.  1sc in the next 6 stitches.

This should take you to your first 3sc (Foundation row is made).

Now we are going to add the rag or the ruffle to our square.

DO NOT TURN but continue working around the square as you did for the foundation row.

3sc in FRONT loop of the next stitch and in the front loop of each stitch around.  Join to starting sc.  Break off your yarn and weave all loose ends in.

For my blanket I made a total of 20 blocks in random shades of reds, pinks and white. 


With right sides together (ruffles facing) attach yarn on one corner of one of your squares.  Using the unworked back stitch on each square join the 2 squares together. Your stitches should line up making it easy to join the squares. 

I prefer to join a strip or a row of squares and then join the rows together.

Make sure your sc stitches are all going the same way before you join your squares.

I free-hand embroidered the small hearts using a back stitch to a couple of my squares.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Learning is Good For You!

I spent the better part of last evening scrambling to get my pattern ready for tomorrow's unveiling in my next STASH BUSTER THURSDAY segment.

I had just cleaned up my studio on the weekend, and what took me a couple of hours to clean and organize on the weekend, I managed to trash in about 3 minutes.  Who knew trying to get a proper photo of a finished project would involve a whole room - and a wide selection of dolls!

I really wanted to use a Chatty Cathy in my final photo, but none of my Cathy's have the right coloured outfits (gonna have to see about changing that real soon).  So instead I used a more modern doll "Baby Loves to Talk".  She has such cute kissable fat cheeks, and I totally forgot that touching ones lips to those cheeks makes her talk - and talk - and talk.  This was serious business trying to get things right for my photo, and all she could do was go on and on about loving spaghetti!


One of the reasons I love dolls so much is that making things for them (clothes, blankets, accessories) enables one to try all different types of crafts and skills.  The first completed knitted sweater I ever made was for a doll.  I love that you can practice different stitches and techniques, and actually get to see your results quickly.  I have learned many crochet knitting and sewing techniques by making things for dolls.  There is no end to the things you can make for dolls - and if you master the art of creating for dolls - why not take that skill and use it on creating for real people - yourself included.

Tomorrows pattern will be available on my blog, but I also hope to get it up on Ravelry ( as soon as I can figure out how to save it to a PDF file). 

Yet another thing to learn....

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pattern Writing 101!

I have come to have a new apprectiation for those who have created and especially written crochet or knit patterns.

I have created many of my own patterns, but until this past week, have never written them down to the extent that someone else can read them.  My angels are all my own creations, and I have a little note-book where I have noted things like - how many stitches to start with - where I increased, where I decreased etc, but I did not write out the pattern fully.

This Stash Buster Thursday post I hope will be one of my own creations ( if I get the writing part done).  The project is done... well mostly,  I still have to join a couple of things, then I need to take a good picture, which will require some other elements added to the project - and then of course - the writing of the pattern itself!

Who writes down every little step?  Good pattern makers, that's who!  As patterns go, this one is very easy and straight forward, but still I need to think like a beginner, and that is hard when someone is used to making their own adjustments and rules as they follow along a pattern.

I tend to do that - I will start a pattern someone else created, and often will change something because I'm not crazy about the creator's way of doing something in the pattern - it is purely a personal thing... and seasoned knitters and crocheters do it all the time.  Not that I want to change anyone's original pattern, but sometimes I just like my adjustment better.

I'm sure there will be plenty who will do the same to my pattern - and I'm totally fine with that.

So the next couple of days I will try and get this pattern written - correctly!  There is nothing more frustrating than trying to work a pattern that is wrong!  So please feel free to holler at me if it is wrong!  I promise I won't mind! 

In the meantime, if you are a knitter or crocheter and you haven't already - you really must check out and join the Ravelry Group.   It is a haven for creators and pure torture for those of us who feel we have to make everything we see.... seriously - it is a wonderful site full of really great patterns made by very creative people.  Once you stop there once - you will go again, and again.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Blabbin about Boo!

Isn't she a doll?

I was at the thrift store on the weekend, and although I really went for books, I quite accidentally found myself in the toy section!

They had a bunch of dolls, and they were all in my cart at one point, but in the end, the only one that came home with me is this one.  I didn't even know who she was, but she talks, sings and laughs.

So I went home and cleaned her up, then went on the internet to see who she was.  All I had to go on was a mark on her bum that said 2001 by Disney/Pixar.

Turns out she is Blabbin Boo from the movie, Monster's Inc.  No wonder I didn't know her - I didn't see that movie.

So I have Boo to enjoy for awhile.  I will eventually sell her on Ebay, but for now she will keep me entertained with her singing, her talking and her infectious giggle.

It was such a nice day I decided to take some pictures of the snow along our route.  Snow is something we have plenty of this year... hope that doesn't mean flooding in spring.

Here are a couple of shots around town...

Snow and ice, that's all you see in the Peg lately... and here's my yard and in front of my fence.

Good moisture for the garden in spring, I'm thinking!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Life's Embarassing Moments!

When I was about 7 yrs old, my mother had a couple of major surgeries that set her back for quite some time.  She had 5 children of her own, usually a couple of foster children as well, and a home that pretty much had a revolving door for visiting relatives.  My parents decided that she needed help with us kids and the cooking and housework, so they asked my aunt's mother to come and stay with us until Mom could get back on her feet.

Mrs. Moeller was a large German woman, in her 60's or so.  She was a widow, all her children were married and gone, and she spoke very broken English.  She was a fantastic cook, she could keep the older boys in line with just a look, and she cared for us younger children with an efficiency of a drill Sargent... but she was not unkind in any way.  She had long conversations with herself  (mostly is German) and sometimes she'd even argue with herself in both German and English - so she was a source of entertainment to us without her even knowing it.

She snored.  I know this because I had to sleep with her!  I had the only double bed with only one occupant, so when a woman came to stay - I had to share my bed.  Every night her bedtime routine was the same, she would don her little ruffled night hat, climb in bed and fold her hands across her very ample chest.  She would mumble her prayers in German and within minutes she would be snoring.  She snored like a man- in fact she probably could have out-snored any man.  She snored so hard the frenulum in her mouth vibrated like it was caught in a cross wind, the sound of her snoring resembled a Studebaker backfiring as it travelled down the road.  It drove me nuts, but it also made for some very lively moments with my friends (children can be so cruel)!

Fast forward 50 yrs....

I usually have a nap when I get home from work every day.  I am up at 5:30 every morning, and by the time 4pm rolls around I find I really am in need of a quick nap.  So I get in my sweats, have something warm to drink, then I cover up with my afghan, put my headphones on my head and select the play list on my ipod with the quiet tunes.... I don't usually hear the end of the first song...

Have you ever been asleep and could hear what was going on around you?  Well yesterday I could hear VERY loud snoring!  It actually woke me up, but after I was awake I could remember hearing it in my sleep.  I opened my eyes, looked around, and really couldn't help noticing that I was alone!

I WAS SNORING!!!!!  I was snoring to the likes of a Viper with a very bad muffler.  OMG!  The first person who came to mind was Grandma Moeller!!!

Gary has been telling me that I snore, and I thought he was just playing with my mind.  Well it seems I might have to dish out some apologies...

So here goes....

Grandma Moeller (In Heaven)- Thank you for taking such good care of my family, and I'm sorry I made fun of your snoring to every child on my street!

Gary - Okay - so I snore.... so now you get to kick my shins several times a night without guilt!

Have good weekend everyone - see you next week!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Stash Buster Thursday begins!

Have you been gathering your Stash?  It's Thursday - time to talk about some ways to Bust that Stash!

This week we'll be busting a Stash of Yarn!  Remember those golf-ball and hard ball size left-overs from other projects... let's bust those first!

There is nothing more perfect for using up small amounts of yarn than the good old "Granny Square".  I know - so predictable - but really - not so much.  The Granny Square has evolved since it's glamours showing in the 70's.  Back them it was incorporated into afghan's, purses, hats, vests and all types of articles.  It was as identifiable by it's square lacy look - no matter what size or what color it was made from.

Today's Granny Square has evolved considerably.  There are as many different styles of Granny Squares, as there are crocheter's making them.

The 70's square aways started out square - today's... not so much.

70's Square (Basic Granny Square):
Here is the basic Granny pattern with a good tutorial if you are attempting this square for the first time.

This one starts as a round medallion, and ends as a square - I really like this one...

This one starts out much the same as the one above, but has a much different look when done - I only did 4 rounds of this pattern.

This last one is a good challenge  - it incorporates quite a few stitches in each square and makes a stunning piece when finished.

These are just a few different squares to start you on your way.  You can make these squares as small or as large as you'd like - in any weight of yarn.  Use as many or as few colours as you wish.  I used red and white as I am on a Valentine kick at the moment.

Wouldn't these colours make an adorable Valentine throw for "Granny" in the nursing home?  Or add a bit of pink to the red and white and make a child-sized Valentine blanket for your favourite young family member.

Not into Valentine's colours?  Then pick colours randomly as you work - I love the look of these colorful blankets when they are done.

There is no end to what you can create with the ever versatile "Granny Square".  It's a keeper...

 - Many thanks to the designers of these squares.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Brain Freeze - Manitoba Style!

I am the first one to defend winter when others are ranting and raving about the cold or the snow.  I have to, after all - I keep telling everyone that I love winter... and I do.

Well I did - until a couple of days ago.  I am allowed to change my mind, am I not?

It has been darn cold.  What's cold, you ask?  How does -44 with the windchill grab you?

I tell you it grabs me in the throat and forehead and pretty much freezes any brain activity that might be present.  Normally I would not be spending a considerable amount of time outdoors in temperatures such as these...BUT...

For some reason, yet unknown to us - the locks on our cute little new car doors are freezing, and we can't get into the car in the morning.  Sometimes if we actually do get in - then we can't get out!  We have tried everything known to man and cars to remedy this situation, and it really wouldn't hurt if the weather would co-operate - but suffice to say the past few early mornings have been a challenge.  This morning I headed out to wait for Gary to bring the car around to the front, and I waited and I waited, until that brain freeze moment was upon me, then decided to walk around to the back where the car is parked.

The car was running, but when I got to the car I discovered that it had just been started.  Gary was outside of the car scraping the ice off the windows so I quickly jumped in the passenger side and closed the door.  Seriously - why close the door, it was just as cold IN the car as it was outside!  He finished scraping, then tried to open my door  - yep - it was frozen already.  So now he couldn't get in and I couldn't get out.  After a frigid tug of war, and some somewhat blue comments the door opened and I was instructed to get out.  It seems the only way into the car was though my door, so I hopped out and waited for him to get in.

Have you ever watched a 6.1ft man crawl into a VW Golf having to lift his long legs over the middle console into the tiny little space where the driver sits?  It's a sports-type car - it's small and compact - and 6.1ft in winter wear is not!  Add freezing cold face and hands to the equation and you have my morning commute almost figured out.  We can chuckle about it now, but come tomorrow morning we may be repeating this same scenario once again.

And yes, the car IS going in to the dealership, who BTW have admitted that frozen locks are more common than they would like to admit - and a reminder - don't get your car washed when it's -44.

 Really?  Who ever would have thought such a thing!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Best Room in the house!

During the Christmas break, I turned my dining room back into a sun room/TV room.  I love to sit in there particularly in the mornings because it is bright and sunny with the east morning sun, but the sun keeps it bright all day long, making it my favorite room in the house.

When we first moved in to our home, this room was a porch.  It was cold and miserable in the winter - about the only thing it was good for was hiding pre-Christmas baking from the family (instead of putting it in the freezer).  Come summer it was much better.  We put a small table in there, and would often sit out there in the evenings and enjoy being "outside" without mosquitoes to bug us.  The first couple of years we lived in the house, we did this, always closing up our summer spot in fall with long long faces.

We decided to look in to having the porch converted to a year-round room, and many dollars later - VOILA!

It started off a sitting room, then was a dining room, then a sitting room, then REALLY a dining room - and now it's a sitting room again!

The lighting is great for knitting and crocheting but the ambiance is so great that I sometimes forget to pick up that hook or needle, but instead get all comfy wrapped in my favourite afghan in my lazy boy.  If I don't actually get to knitting or crocheting I sure can while away the hours dreaming about all the projects I'd like to make.

As the days get longer, just think of all the extra time this room will allow me.  Why I can almost add a few projects to the already long list I have waiting.  No problem, no problem at all!

But first - I think I'll take a quick nap!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Sunday Chicken Rice Bake - ummm good!

Brrrr.... Double Brrrrrr.....

It is cold outside.  We are getting into the -30's and colder with the wind chills.  There is even some talk of -40's.  Haven't had that yet this year, but I guess we will soon.

When the weather is this cold I like to make comforting meals like casseroles, stews, soups etc.  It just seems to warm a body so much more when you have something that has been cooked in the oven for awhile to eat.

Yesterday, being Sunday, I decided it was a casserole for supper night.  We like to keep Sunday dinner a family meal (when possible) and yes we do eat it at the table, as we do each and every meal.

I can't tell you how many people have snickered at my insistence at eating at the table.  It seems more don't than do.  But I like the gathering around the table, especially for the supper meal.  After a day where everyone has gone out and done different things, it is nice to gather and share a meal, and share the day.

So last eve I decided to make a family favourite... Company Chicken.... don't know who ever started that name because the recipe is actually called Sunday Chicken Rice Bake.  As usual it was so good that there wasn't even leftovers.  I usually make a batch of baking powder biscuits to go with it.  What would have been really good last night would have been a cobbler of some sort for dessert - or a warm bread pudding, but I didn't get around to making dessert, so we missed out on the sweet treat last night.

If you are looking for a nice all in one dish meal - here it is...

Sunday Chicken-Rice Bake.

1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 can mushroom pieces
1 cup regular rice
1 10 oz pkg of frozen vegetables - I use half a small bag
Chicken pieces of your choice... 2.5-3 pounds chicken pieces. - I like using the drumstick with thigh attached or breasts.

In a bowl stir together mushroom soup, milk, dry onion soup mix and undrained mushrooms.  Reserve 1/2 cup of this mixture and set aside.  Stir uncooled rice and frozen vegetables into remaining soup mixture.

Turn rice mixture into a 12x7.5x2 inch baking dish.  Arrange chicken pieces atop.  pour reserved soup mixture over chicken.  Sprinkle chicken pieces with paprika.  Cover tightly with foil.  Bake at 375 till rice is tender - 1.5 hrs.  Makes 4-6 servings.


Happy Birthday to my brother, Dean!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I was fortunate to have a week off work between Christmas and New Years.  I really did not have much planned, except for spending time with family and friends, which I did do.  Once Christmas was past, I decided that I should make use of some of my home time.

Why do we always think that every minute must be "useful"?  And just what does "useful" mean anyway?

In my case it meant dealing with the mess that had developed in my work room... again!

On and on this same scenario goes.  I change things, clean, organize, get my crafting space wonderful and usable - and POOF!  Someone goes in there without regard to all my efforts and messes it up!

Yeah - right!

So I was about to make use of my spare time - where to start?

I know - how about the rather sizable stash of yarn that I have accumulated over the years.  Good plan!

In order to get serious with said stash - I first had to gather it all.  There were three totes with yarn.  One toy-box full, one under the bed storage container full.  Lets see - several large shopping bags full in the linen closet.  Several in the closet in the work room, and assorted started and works- in- progress in many bags here, there and everywhere.  Besides the yarn - I also found bags of squares (several different kinds) already done, waiting to become afghans.... maybe?

When I gathered it all and dumped it together - it was almost overwhelming!

But still - this was my intended project so off I went to the dollar store for storage solutions.  I bought many boxes of extra large freezer bags - the ones with the zippers on the top.

I sorted balls according to size first.  Golf-ball size, hard-ball size, soft-ball size, larger than soft-ball size, and full balls.  Then I sorted again according to weight - fingering, baby weight, worsted, bulky... etc - then I sorted again according to color.

Are you impressed?

I put all the golf-ball and hard-ball sized balls in the zip bags according to color.  The rest I organized in totes according to color. 

Wow - an organized stash - somewhat.

I ended up with 3 full totes of yarn plus one tote of zippered bags and yet another tote of finished squares etc. 

VOILA - done!

It was while I was so busily doing all this that the idea of  STASH BUSTER THURSDAYS came to me.  So starting next Thursday  - every Thursday post will be dedicated to Stash Busting.  Thursdays I will inspire you with ways to bust those stashes in your work room, by showing you projects you can make to take down that stash.  Be prepared to get rid of a lot of fabric, yarn, beads, paper - well we'll see what we can help you with over time...

Your assignment:   Identify YOUR stash - and meet me here next Thursday for the first STASH BUSTER THURSDAY  installment.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Good Intentions!

Whatever happened to good intentions?  I used to have quite a few of those floating around - some better than others, but like everything else if I just set them down for just a second - poof - gone!

One of those good intentions (last year) was to become the better blogger I once was, used to be, and want to be. That intention must be hiding with the others -  like the one where I promised myself I would not start anymore projects before I finished the ones I have on the go!  Or how about the one where I talked myself in to believing that all I needed was a little time, and I'd have enough dolls ready for sale to kick-start my new on-line doll business.

Oh boy - talk about letting oneself down...

But here's the thing, I read a lot of blogs, which is one of the reasons lately I find it so difficult to write my own blog.  I spend entirely too much time reading and I really must say enjoying what others have written. 

There are so many really good bloggers out there and therein lies my problem.

Most of the blogs I follow are written by people, much like me (that could be my problem).  They are crafters, some with business, some just for the pleasure of working with their hands.  Most are amazing artists, with more ideas that tempt my mind and my hands.  Unfortunately (for me) they are awesome photographers - why else would I be so tempted to try their techniques and patterns? 

Of course I can't limit my reading to one type of crafter - that would not be fair.  So my brain has been tempted with knitting, crocheting, quilting, doll making, beading, cooking...   Oh the joys of being a follower!

So for this year - expect some new ideas, some fabulous photography, and hopefully I too can tempt your mind and hands with some ideas and projects.  If not perhaps I can tempt you with a story or two, or maybe even the odd contest.

For now, at least - that is my intention.