Monday, June 24, 2013

Sharing the cuteness, baby shower version.

This past weekend, I got to go to a baby shower. I LOVE baby showers. All the sweet clothes and adorable hand crocheted blankets, burp clothes, cool gadgets....gah! Plus there's something to be said for being around a group of people who are as excited for a new baby in the family as you are. :) This will be the 3rd new little baby out of my cousins and I couldn't be happier. For a long time now, I've been the only one with kiddos, and now there's been three additions in the past year! Yay!

So usually I make baby toys for gifts. You can see some of my baby toys here and here. As I woke up the morning of the shower realizing I didn't yet have a gift, I decided to try and throw together a pair of baby flip flops. Not so lucky, I couldn't find any free patterns that I liked and felt like I could get done in the measly hour I had available. 

My first baby flip flops

They turned out pretty cute for being created as I went along. I just made a simple oval shape and then added the straps and border. Could be improved on, but for a first try that took an hour, I am totally content. They were a hit and I got to talk crochet with other mamas, something I always love doing!!

The sisters of the mama-to-be made some super sweet cupcakes. I bow to their cupcake skills. The baby is a boy and dad's an outdoors man, so they made fish themed cupcakes!

Fishie cuppycake

CUTE RIGHT??? This was a banana cupcake with a fondant fishie on the top. Lily and I got in a bet over whether it was fondant (me) or modeling chocolate (her). One of her favorite TV shows in the world is DC Cupcakes

fishing pole cupcake

These were vanilla cupcakes with fishing poles and gummy shark catches. Clever!!

Finally, my crafty awe was complete when I saw the gift made by the hostess.

Diaper cake

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. That is a diaper cake. A FROG RIDING A MOTORCYCLE DIAPER CAKE. How adorbable is that? The headlight was a bottle, the fenders were bibs... it was priceless. Mama and Dad of baby-to-be ride dirt bikes. This was perfect. Much squee-sounds were made. I didn't get any other pictures and I was bummed because there was super cute stuff everywhere! I hope you've enjoyed the cuteness as much as I did!!!!

Congrats cousins! You know who you are!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Project Deconstruction... it's painful.

If you remember, I was working on the ugly awesome granny square blanket several months ago. School happened and it got thrown in my yarn box where it sat until two days ago. After finishing the giant granny lapghan and begrudgingly happily giving it as a wedding gift, I realized I wanted my own granny to snuggle. So I pulled out the ugly awesome granny. Whoa. If you ever want to realize just how much progress happens when you actually practice and improve a skill, forget about a crochet project for a few weeks.

The ugly awesome granny wasn't awesome. Well, the colors were. And the patterns. But I digress. It was horribly discombobulated. It was a not-so-happy granny.

The not so happy granny.

If you notice my feet at the bottom, you'll realize just how far I had gotten on this project. Boo. If I had been attempting to make a ripple granny, I would have been spot on. Are there such things as ripple grannies? I think I just didn't pay as close attention to the joining as I should have. This attempt was done with the "join as you go" method. Easy in theory, but apparently it was not working out for me. I think  I'll try it again in the future with a smaller project. 

I've mentioned Attic 24 in the past and I'm going to do so again.
Lucy at Attic 24 is an amazing crochet lady. She has many fab tutorials. I'm currently working on a blind your eyes bright version of her crochet bag. Anyway, back on topic, she has a fantastic tutorial on how to join squares with single crochet after you have created all of them. (tutorial is here.) I think that's the method I'm going to try for this granny. That way if I screw it up, I can cut one string rather than a billion. One more side note: You should also read her non-crochet posts. She's an excellent writer.

So after huffing and puffing and asking my husband, "Do you think I should start over?" for the millionth time, I decided I couldn't go further. It was demo time. I wanted to save as many of the squares as I could because, hey, there's a lot of damn work and awesome ugliness there!

Bits and pieces from cutting.

It took hours. Hours. I was trying to save squares and yarn. It was a painstaking process. I grumped at myself throughout the whole process. 

Wasted grannies... :(

All that work wasted. But it was going to be better. It was going to be ugly awesome amazing. I managed to save most of my squares and quite a bit of the yarn for the rows I had to cut. 

Wrapped bits that I saved.

Today, I spent quite a bit of time re-crocheting the rows I had to cut free. Now all but two grannies are five rows each. The other two are ten rows. I still like the idea of different sized squares, but I'm going to go at it less haphazardly this time. 

Salvaged granny.

I still have about a gazillion ends to sew in as I didn't do that I as I went along either. Oh well. I'll get to it eventually. We really need to develop the technology to make ends sew in themselves. That's my least favorite part of this hobby. 

Pretty colors.

I WILL FINISH THIS AFGHAN THIS SUMMER. It will happen. After tearing it apart, I absolutely have to see it done again. The yarn demands it. Haha. Time also demands it, since I have several other projects promised to friends and family. I also want to finish my bag before too much longer. More about that later. 

Wish me luck! Here's to hoping round two does not end as painfully as round  one!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Not Your Mama's Stroganoff Recipe.

I have actually have some time to play with recipes again!! Woot!

This was a huge hit with three out of four of us in the house... (keep in mind Lily's a bird eater.) We love mushroom stroganoff, but it was time to try something new. This recipe also has the distinction of being my first gluten-free recipe! 

Now one of my ingredients comes from Mom's Place at I'm not shamelessly plugging them or anything, but if you have gluten intolerance, they're a good place to find flours, bread mixes, and in this case, cream of whatever soups. Also, the lemon bars rock. I have a family member who has celiac disease, so it's fun to try and use new ingredients to make recipes that are safe for her to eat.

Anyhoo. This is great for getting veggies into your family's tummy. It has 3 types of veggies. Well, four if you count onions. It doesn't look very pretty... but it tastes SO good. I promise. On to the recipe!!

Not Your Mama's Stroganoff


1 pound hamburger (I use 97/3% lean so there's no need to drain grease)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 red pepper, chopped
1 small can sliced mushrooms (or chopped fresh button mushrooms)
1 small 8 oz. container sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
steamed rice (if desired)

Saute the onion, garlic, peppers, and cauliflower until onions are translucent. Add the hamburger to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms. 

Sauteed peppers and cauliflower.

Once hamburger is browned, add cream of mushroom soup mix. I also added the water called for on the package. 

Mom's Place gluten-free soup mix

Once you've got things heated to bubbling, turn heat down to a simmer or off if you plan to serve right away. Add the sour cream. It's going to get soup-like, but that's what you want for serving over the rice. If you want to reduce any liquid, let it heat through a bit more before turning the temp down. 

Adding sour cream - Not Your Mama's Stroganoff

You're ready to serve this yummy stuff over rice or eat as is! We were out of rice so we just threw it on a plate and went to down. It was really tasty and pretty quick. Only took about 20 minutes to make. Some options for changing this up could be different soup mix flavors, different veggies, or perhaps a ground turkey rather than hamburger. This is really easy to personalize to what you need!

Not your Mama's stroganoff.

I hope you enjoy it! If you try my recipe, I would love to hear your experiences in the comments! 

Happy eating!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Flowers and teefers. Day in my life.

So it's my favorite time of year again.

The roses at my house are in bloom...making my house look much prettier than it usually does!

Every year, our rose bushes burst into sunny yellow happiness and remind me why I live in my tuna can of a house. For about a week or two, once a year, we're the prettiest house on the block. Provided that we've remembered to mow our yard and kill the dandelions.

There is no possible way to be grumpy when looking at my yard during this time of the year. It's fantastic. The girls wanted their pictures taken. Lily was being a ham, as usual.

She's wearing the tie her dad was supposed  to wear at my sister's wedding. He snuck out of it because I was so busy. Harummph. Lily also likes to smirk somewhat evilly at the camera to warn me that she's about to get into mischief. Or ask my a question/make a comment that makes my brain all explodey. Just the other day she golfed her first nine holes and loved it. She proceeded to tell me that she's going to be a better golfer than Tiger Woods. Seriously, how the heck does she know who Tiger Woods is? She wants golf lessons, so I guess we're adding that to the list of things to do this summer. Lily is interested in everything and that makes summer a crazy time for us as we try to get her into as many activities as possible so she can explore. So far this summer we're doing horse riding, golf, swimming, and art lessons. Possibly a Harry Potter Science Camp. I'm taking donations for all of this. Please be generous. *wink wink* I'm also constantly searching for books for her to read. She's reading faster than I can find book series for her.

Sage Muffin still has the cutest jack-o-lantern smile ever. I am really going to cry when she finally gets another tooth on the bottom.

She just got a fourth tooth and guess where it is? Yup. Still up top. Haha. This is the slowest teething child I have ever met. 18 months and 3.5 teeth. That has to be some kind of a record. Being mostly toothless does NOT slow down her eating. This kid eats. Lily doesn't. I've spent the last 8 years of my parenting life fighting for every morsel of food to go into Lily's mouth. Sage eats her portions AND Lily's portions AND mine AND Nic's. There's no stopping her. The other night at dinner out, she ate calamari, shrimp, bruschetta, brie, clam chowder, my mahi mahi, Grandma's steak, and a couple mouthfuls of pineapple salsa that was too hot for ME. Oh, and she chewed on a lemon wedge for about 10 minutes. We call her our hobbit eater. She has to have first breakfast, second breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, second lunch, afternoon tea (milk), supper, dinner....the list goes on. It's about 90% fruits and veggies, so I don't stop her. I'm going to have to up our bountiful baskets to two a week here soon to accommodate her! She also ate her first mouthful of dirt as we were planting Grandma's herbs. Possibly a bug or two. Heh. 

I can't help but smile at my flowers and my girls. That's what summer is all about to me. Playing hard, getting dirty, and sighing at the flowers. I can't wait to enjoy this sunshine and happy time!!! Just remind me in August when I'm ready for school to start again that I felt this way! By then I'll probably be ready to hide in the spider corner of my laundry room just for some quiet. ;)

While we're on the topic of flowers, can anyone tell me what type of clematis this is? Or if it is a clematis?

It's really pretty! I would love to find this variety to plant in my yard somewhere. Thanks in advance for your help!

Happy SUMMER!!!!!

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Big Reveal...GRANNY STYLE!

So as the whole entire world knows.... my sister just got married. I have been talking about this wedding for a year. My girls were two of the four prettiest flower girls ever. I got a kicking dress and my hubster actually wore dress clothes. Much fun was had by all. I was so busy playing Matron of Honor (why does that sound old? I'm no matron!!!) that I forgot to take pictures most of the day... so you'll have to wait to see us in our wedding finery.

I decided a mere two weeks before the wedding that I needed to whip up a gift. Not just a small gift either. That's not how I roll. I made a mad dash to the yarn store and decided I was attempting a granny blanket. My other granny (the ugliest, awesomest granny in existence) is sitting forgotten in my yarn box because all my time and effort was spent on this new granny. After two weeks of 4 hours or more a day crocheting, I did it! Yay!

Granny Lapghan

I'm pretty proud of this sweetheart as it's the first full size blanket I've ever completed. It was my first foray into blocking a crochet project too. Which of course happened at 10pm at night in my mama's basement the night before the bride arrived. Again, are you surprised? 

Pinned and waiting to block.

See all the little pins sticking out the sides? This is to make the square look... well... square. For the first time in too long in my life, pinning meant actually using pins, not Pinterest. (Haha, you know you laughed.) I sprayed the whole thing down with water and let it dry. It's one of those things that helps with shape and is made for people who are OCD. 

Now this granny isn't technically a full afghan. I also learned that there is such a thing as a "lapghan" out there in the crochet world. It's apparently a blanket that is smaller than a traditional afghan, but larger than a child sized afghan. I just thought it was a cool term to use so that people thought I made a small blanket on purpose, rather than the excuse that I ran out of time and my hands and wrists were all hurty. The finished size was 54 inches by 54 inches.

Scalloped edging.

I also found a cool scallop edge to do courtesy of the lovely Lucy at Attic 24. If you are at all a fan of the hook and yarn world, check her out. She's amazing! 

Center granny closeup.

Rather than do millions of single grannies together, I did one giant granny. I loved it. There was no rhyme or reason to the color choices. Just whatever I felt like at the time. I love random things and this was a perfect project for that. The colors were selected to match my sister's living room decor. For those of you that are really interested, I used Caron Simply Soft Yarn in seven different colors: Chocolate, Bone, Dark Country Blue, Light Country Blue, Country Blue, Light Blue, and Ocean. 

Hanging out.

I am SO pleased with how it turned out. I was a little sad to see it go, but it was a fantastic gift to give. I'm thinking that rather than a million scarves for Christmas, this year, everyone's getting afghans. Excuse me, "lapghans!"
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Moogly  By Stephanie Lynn
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