Meet Penelope

Those of you who have read my blog know that I have been wanting to get into amigurumi  for a while.  I tried once, with not so great results (see here).  This go around, I spent the better part of the week working on Penelope, or as my wife has named her – Penny in Pink.  I took my time, went slow and frogged her more times than I can count!  But the results… well.. let’s just say, I LOVE the way she came out:

Penelope1

Penelope4

Penelope5

Market Bag with Floral Accent

I love the look of this market bag and I was able to put the pattern together and whip it up in a matter of hours.  I took bits and pieces of patterns from other bags I have attempted in order to make this come together.  I think it’s quite lovely.  Working in double crochet gave it amazing flexibility and stretchability (is that even a word?).  See the pattern below.  The completed bag is available for sale in my Etsy store, just click on the picture or the Etsy link on your right!  Happy hooking!

bag1A

Materials:

1 skein any color worsted weight yarn (and a 2nd accent color if you wish for the handles, as you can see I used a shade darker for the handles)

Size I Hook

Needle for weaving

Directions:

Rd 1: Ch2 (counts as first dc) .  11dc in a magic ring.  Join at top of ch2 sp (12 dc)

Rd 2: Ch2.  2dc in each st around.  Join at top of ch2 sp.  (24dc)

Rd 3: Ch2, dc in same st.  *dc in next st, 2 dc in next st, dc in next st* around.  Join at top of first dc (36dc)

Rd 4:  Ch2, dc in next st.  *2dc in next st, dc in next 2 sts, 2dc in next st* around.  Join at top of first DC (48DC)

Rd 5:  Ch3.  *dc, ch1 in next st* around (DO NOT JOIN – place marker on first st.  You will move the marker up every 2 rows)

Rd 6-30: dc, ch1 in each ch1 space (you may continue past round 30 for a longer bag).

Join to first dc

Rd 31: Ch2.  Dc in every ch1 space

Rd 32:  Ch2.  Dc between each dc.  Join with 1st dc (DO NOT FASTEN OFF)

Straps:

Row 1: Ch2, dc in next 9 sts (10dc)

Row 2: Ch2, turn.  Dc decrease next 2 sts.  Dc in next 5 sts.  Dc decrease in last  st (8 dc)

Row 3: Ch2, turn.  Dc decrease next 2 st.  Dc in next 3 sts.  Dc decrease in last st (6dc)

Row 4-18: Ch2, turn.  Dc in next 5 sts (you may continue past row 18 for a longer strap)

Fasten off and sew in ends.  In order to determine where to place the other half of your strap, fold and lay bag flat and find the starting point for the opposite side.  repeat pattern above and single crochet ends together.

I found a great tutorial (with pictures) for the rose applique here.

If you make the bag, send me pics so I can place it on the blog!

Growing a lemon tree

When my oldest daughter was born, I started a little lemon tree.  To me, it was as simple as washing the seeds and throwing them in some dirt.  My poor little tree did not make it very long and since then, every now and again, I will try to grow another.  Thus far, nothing has sprouted.  So, I do what we all do when we are stuck – I google!

I found that there are many, many ways to make sure that your little seeds start to sprout.  I tried the least complicated method and improvised a bit (as I always do when I’m feeling lazy).  All you need are one or two lemons (1 will give you plenty of seeds), a knife, a plastic container (I used a yogurt container – great way to recycle!), a hammer, a nail and some soil.  Below is the way that worked for me:

Lemon Tree Tutorial

I used the seeds of a regular lemon purchased at the grocery store.  I washed and dried them so that they wouldn’t be slimy and hard to handle.

Lemon Tree Tutorial 2

Try not to cut into the seed itself.  This could get tricky, but after the 3rd or 4th seed, it gets easier.

Lemon Tree Tutorial 3

I used my nails to pry them open.  again, with practice it gets much easier

Lemon Tree Tutorial 4

Lemon Tree Tutorial 5

I used an old yogurt container.  They are the perfect size for starting seeds.

Lemon Tree Tutorial 6

The more holes you make, the better drainage you get.

Lemon Tree Tutorial 7

Water them often.  Make sure the soil is always moist.  I placed mine on  my kitchen window sill.

Lemon Tree Tutorial 8

After 2-3 weeks, they will begin to sprout.  I almost gave hope, but I eventually saw progress!

Lemon Tree Tutorial 9

My little plant is growing nicely!  I am going to give it another week or two before transferring them into a bigger, permanent container.  What’s the best thing about the lemon plant you ask?  When you gently squeeze the  leaves, you can smell the yummy lemony scent!  Of course you won’t get lemons growing on it anytime soon.  From what  I have read, that takes about 6 years to happen.  In the meantime, take care of it, water it regularly and enjoy the beauty of it!

Busy as a Bee

I had an extremely productive weekend.  Shall I say, even more productive than when I did this?  Well, maybe a different kind of productive.  This weekend, I opened up an Etsy store!!!  I am so exited about this new venture.  Because of this, I’ve started making things other than afghans.  I figured this is just the thing to give me a much needed push out of my afghan rut.  I have quite enjoyed making all sorts of new things to put in the store. I’ll be adding more products to the store as the weeks go by.   Here’s what I’ve accomplished thus far:

Bedtime owl sleep masks

Bedtime owl sleep masks

Retro Flower Pot Holders

Retro Flower Pot Holders

photo 2

Sets of 6 crocheted caoasters

PH 1

A few sets of pot holders in varying designs and colors

I also started making bags and am putting a efw of them up.  Here’s one:

BOHO 1

Reversible Boho bag

And of course, all of the afghans that I make and feature on my blog will be available for purchase.  I am so excited about this.  Even if nothing sells, that’s ok.  The fact that i have accomplished this much is a reward in and of itself!  This blog and now the Etsy store has made me push my crafting limits, I have been able to make so many more things in these past few months than I have in the past few years!  And everyone who has read the blog, left positive remarks and have sent me e-mails and questions have all kept me pushing to be better.  Thank you!