Monday, February 27, 2017

Waffle weave mug cozie crochet pattern

Another one of the fabulous child care center directors I am working with just finished her Aim4Excellence credential not too long ago. You know what that means, don’t you? Time for me to crochet something as a little “congrats!” gift! 


I knew the director enjoyed coffee/tea/hot cocoa so I wanted to get her a gift card to Caribou Coffee. I have made a handful of different coffee mug cozies in the past, but I came across a pattern that used the waffle weave stitch that I had used in a baby blanket years ago. 



I LOVE that a simple front post double crochet and back post double crochet stitch can create such a unique, textured look. 






Materials used: 
A small amount of worsted weight yarn (I chose a pretty teal color)
Size H hook (5 mm)
Large button
Thread, scissors, needle

I found the free waffle weave crocheted cozie pattern here.

The pattern calls for a 4.5mm hook, which I didn’t have. I used a 5mm hook and it worked out just fine! Mine fits the small size Caribou coffee cup just perfectly!


End of Round 1.













A few stitches into Round 3. Notice how the the texture is starting to
appear already. 















A few stitches into Round 4.
A little over half way done. You can see how the alternating front and back post double crochet stitches make this unique waffle weave look. 
Finished product!

After crocheting the cozie, I found a nice large wooden button and sewed it on with turquoise thread. I put it on the Caribou Coffee cup, filled the cup with some candies and the gift card, and “Wa-la!” The director loved her little gift! :) P.S. If you ask the coffee shop barista reaaalllly nicely, they might just give you an extra cup for free - they did for me! 


Yummmmy. Chocolate and a coffee gift card. What's not to love!?

If you like the look of this waffle weave stitch, you should check out the baby blanket I made using the same type of pattern – it is simple and beautiful! 


Baby blanket using the waffle weave crochet stitch.
                               

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Brightest and sharpest

I have the privilege of working with some amazing child care providers here in Fargo. The quality rating system for child care providers in the state of North Dakota is called Bright and Early. As part of my job working for Child Care Aware of ND, I get to coach programs who are going through the different steps of Bright and Early. If you want to know the different programs who are participating and what step they are at, check out this super cool interactive map of ND: http://www.brightnd.org/

You might remember my previous post where I mentioned a program that had achieved Step 2 status. I had made each of the teachers a little gift by putting some Reese’s Pieces candy into a little glass jar shaped like a light bulb. Check out that post here: http://erinscraftyendeavors.blogspot.com/2015/10/a-bright-idea.html

This same program has now achieved Step 3!! Woo hoo! I love working with child care programs who go above and beyond for kids! It is so exciting to see how passionate providers are about their jobs and all the hard work they put in during each of these steps to prove that they are the best of the best! 

This time, I wanted to put together a little something that the teachers could use in their classrooms. Since the program is called BRIGHT and early, I figured I would go with something that is bright and colorful. I didn’t want to spend more than $5 or so on each person since there were 8 teachers I was buying for. First, I headed to the local Dollar Tree. There, I found packs of multi-colored sticky notes in bright neon colors. I also found a pack of 4 yellow highlighters. Ten dollars later, I went to Wal-Mart. There, I found a 5 pack of Sharpie markers with fun new bright/bold colors. They were less than $4 each. I bought 8 of them and then headed home. 


I separated out my goodies and began to write out a little thank you note for each one. The note read, “Thanks for being one of the BRIGHTest and SHARPest teachers around! Congrats on achieving Step 3!”


Get it?! Brightest for “Bright and Early” and sharpest for Sharpies. Heehee. I’m so clever. Ok, so, not really, but I had fun with the puns! I separated out the highlighters so each teacher got one and then put together each pack and tied them together with some gold Christmas ribbon. I taped the highlighter to the pack of Sharpies so it wouldn’t slip out of the ribbon. After tying the materials together, I slipped the handwritten note under the ribbon. Ta-da! 

I got to hand deliver them to the director the next day. She loved them and was excited to hand them out to her teachers. This is the first program I have had the honor of coaching through both step 2 and step 3! It’s been so fun seeing them grow and make progress and really embrace change. 

For the teachers and child care providers in your life, this is an easy and fun way to show them you appreciate their hard work every day. Being a child care provider is a tough, exhausting, and often thankless job. I know - I did it for 10 years! Anytime a parent showed appreciation with a small gift or even a grateful "thank you," it was remembered. So, go out TODAY and do something simple and creative (and inexpensive!) to show your child care providers you appreciate them. It will go a long ways in showing them you care. 



Friday, February 3, 2017

Square hat with two pompoms

Awwwwww. Seriously, that's the only word for this picture.

Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE making baby gifts? I know SO many people expecting babies right now! As soon as I hear about someone expecting a baby, I immediately ask if they are going to find out the sex of the baby. It’s always easier to make something if you know if it’s a boy or girl. One of the child care centers I am working with has FOUR women expecting. Woo! Don’t be drinking that water unless you want a little one of your own. ;) 

One of the gals, Miranda, had her sweet baby boy, Creed, just about a month ago. I decided to make this adorable double pom pom hat for her lil guy using a nice, soft, thick and colorful yarn. I found the free double pom pom hat pattern here.

Starting the foundation single crochet

For this pattern, I used the following:
10 mm crochet hook
1 ½ skeins of Loops & Threads Charisma in Sunny Day
My homemade pom pom maker (click here for how to make a poof ball)

This pattern starts on the bottom rim of the hat and works its way up.  To make the rim a little bit more stretchy and flexible, I tried out a foundation single crochet stitch.



I have never done that before so I had to look up a Youtube video to see how it was done. Not really all that hard to learn and the result was wonderful! I will be starting more patterns with this technique!

After a row of front and back post double crochets. See that nice texture starting to pop out?

The first couple rows are front and back post double crochet to create a neat looking texture on the rim of the hat. The rest of the pattern is simply double crochet stitches. I made my hat a little bit bigger because I expect the lil guy to grow into it and didn’t want it to be too small right away.

Pom poms are attached. Now time to trim them!

I added a few more inches on the top before finishing off so that the rim can be rolled up. That way, the baby can grow into the hat a little bit more. After finishing the hat, I made two pom poms to attach to the top two corners of the hat.


Finished product with the trim of the hat unrolled

The trim of the hat rolled up to fit a smaller baby.

Absolutely precious baby Creed snoozing away in his new hat!
Professional pictures were done by Expressions by Ashton Photography. She has a location in Fargo and Bismarck, ND. Here is their website for more info: http://expressionsbyashton.com/

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Heart Valentine's Day containers

Looking for a cute, easy, fun crochet pattern for Valentine’s Day? Look no further! This little heart shaped container is a perfect gift for your loved one, your Mom or Dad, sister or brother, co-worker, child care provider, teacher, boss, neighbor, mail carrier, dentist, etc. The list goes on and on. Who wouldn’t love getting a cute little crocheted heart filled with candies, love notes or flower petals?

End of foundation round

Here is the free crocheted heart container pattern. I used an H(5mm) hook and some worsted weight yarn in red, light pink, and white. This is a great stash buster pattern! Each heart uses such a small amount of yarn that you can make one in every color! I decided to make some for my niece’s child care providers last year. I figured, after they ate the candy inside, they could use the heart container as a ring holder, put it on their nightstand to hold chapstick, or hang it up in their classroom as a fun Valentine’s Day decoration!

About half-way through Round 1.





















To start the pattern, I used a magic ring. If you haven’t figured out how to do this, I advise you to take the 10 minutes. It seriously won’t take you more than that. The link to the pattern also has a great video and pictures explaining it in great detail. This simple magic circle eliminates the large hole you see after starting a project like this. A magic circle is also the perfect way to start any stuffed animals or hats.

End of Round 2















End of Round 3.
If you wanted to, you could stop the pattern anywhere along these first couple of rounds and you would have a cute heart to use as a hair clip or an accessory on a hat. Or, you could make a bunch of hearts and string them together for a garland. The possibilities are endless!

Going in to the front loop in Round 4.


I altered the pattern slightly because I wanted the bottom to be flat instead of rounded. To do that, I did Round 4 only in the front loop. That creates a nice edge between the bottom and the sides.
This is how the  bottom looks when you crochet in the front loop of Round 4.
See how it is nice and flat? :)

Crocheting Round 5


A side view of Round 5

After crocheting the hearts, I wanted to add a little something to them to really make them pop. So, I found some pretty red, white, and pink patterned fabric pieces at JoAnn’s Fabric. 


I cut the fabric into a heart shape to fit inside the container. I used some tacky glue to glue the fabric to the bottom of the crocheted heart container and  let it dry for 24 hours.



















Now it’s time to fill them with goodies! You can fill them with chocolates, conversation hearts, other Valentine’s Day candy, flower petals, or whatever your heart desires!






If you are looking for another fun Valentine’s Day crochet pattern, check out my adorable heart ear warmers blog post from last year. My niece, Emily, is modeling it in this picture.




No matter how you celebrate Valentine’s Day, make sure you give your loved ones a hug and let them know you love them. Life is too short to not tell people what they mean to you! Enjoy and happy crocheting! 



Monday, January 16, 2017

Crocheted popcorn garland



I love being crafty and I love making things for other people. I especially love getting commissioned to make something special for someone! 


So, you can imagine my excitement when my good friend Jackie contacted me to make some popcorn garlands for her and her Mom.
 


I found a couple of different patterns and showed them to Jackie. Her Mom really liked one of them. I found the free pattern on Ravelry. I used a 3.5mm hook and I Love this Yarn sport weight in white from Hobby Lobby. 













This particular pattern makes a long strand of connected popcorn pieces. It uses a cluster stitch where the last loop of 4 treble crochets are left on the hook and then you yarn over and go through all 5 loops on the hook at once (pictured above). 


















I made a total of 4 strands, each between 6 and 8 feet long. It was a relaxing easy pattern once I got the hang of the treble cluster stitch. A bit time consuming, but when you are sitting in front of the TV, at least you feel like you get something accomplished! :)


Don't those popcorn garland strands look so nice next to the beautiful ornaments!?




            

After I made the popcorn strands for Jackie's Mom, Jackie found another super cute popcorn pattern! The one she found makes individual popcorn pieces and then you string them together with whatever yarn/wire/twine you want! They turned out SUPER DUPER cute! I'll be posting that pattern soon!

Simply beautiful!

The four strands of popcorn garland ready to ship! 


Thanks, Jackie, for commissioning me to make some fun, beautiful, and simple popcorn garlands to add to your Mom's tree! I'll be doing a post soon on the cute popcorn pieces I made for your tree! I can't decide which one I like more - they are both so fun!

A few years ago, I made Jackie a beautiful waffle weave blanket for her sweet baby boy, Emmett. Here is a link to the waffle weave blanket pattern.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Cube decorating contest



Soooo, when your workplace decides to throw a cube decorating contest during the holiday season, what does your team of Early Childhood specialists do? Win, of course! 

I don’t think the Christmas party committee realized the monster they created when they opened up a contest to see who could decorate their “cubicle” area the most festive for the holiday. All of us at Child Care Aware have been in a situation where you are decorating your classroom or making an art activity for the kids with little to no budget money and LOTS of creativity. We know how to make anything out of nothing. Give us a little construction paper and glitter and we can make amazing things!

So, our crew consisted of seven highly competitive individuals who wanted to win. We got together and planned what our theme was going to be and started divvying out tasks to whoever had the right materials and the time/energy to devote to the task! We all came back to the office with boxes of construction paper, glitter, glue, cotton balls, scissors, Christmas trees, decorations, fishing wire, tape, cellophane paper, toilet paper tubes, brown sack lunch bags etc. You name it, we had it.



We decided to go with a gingerbread theme. We had two cubes to decorate but wanted them to be connected to each other visually. My work cube (which I share with Brittany) was going to be the main gingerbread house and the training department’s cube next door would be the outside/backyard area. 

We covered the whole outside of our cube with brown butcher paper and then put up construction paper glittered lights, gumdrops on the bottom, and lollipops in the front (made of wrapping paper tubes and colorful plastic plates). Katie made tons of cute things out of construction paper, including the adorable snowmen, the windows with the wreaths, and the street signsI managed to find some gigantic googly eyes that I placed on one of the snowmen. The rest of the colorful plastic plates were covered with clear cellophane wrap and put up as candies.

"Candy" made out of colorful plastic plates and cellophane wrap.

 We put up a trim of fake snow and covered the top with cotton balls all stretched out. The “roof” was made with wrapping paper tubes and a bunch of lunch paper bags arranged to look like shingles. A few more cotton balls on the top of the roof made it look like a fresh batch of snow had just fallen.



Brittany brought her Christmas tree and we decorated it with candy ornaments, candy canes, and lights. I brought a bunch of fake wrapped presents that Jon and I had created years ago. They looked perfect under the tree! We even found some cute candy decorations that went along perfectly with the theme! We made some paper chains ($1 section at Target!) to put up in the background.





Inside the gingerbread house, we created a fireplace with construction paper bricks, a real wreath, and a stocking for each of our co-workers. Emily created a realistic fire with toilet paper tubes and red, orange, and yellow construction paper flames. I brought my stuffed Santa and Brittany had her daughter write a note to Santa. She even brought a fake cup of milk from her kid’s dramatic play set at home. With a plate of cookies (felt gingerbread), our mantle was complete. 






We’re not quite sure who took a “bite” out of one of our gingerbread men. We’re pretty sure it was a member of a competing team! It was clever, whoever it was!

Our fireplace, mantle, stockings, and fire. Look what a little
construction paper and creativity can do!

Now, to connect our gingerbread house to the backyard. Emily’s kids helped color paper plates to look like red and white swirly peppermint candies and we taped them to the floor leading to the next cube. 




A few paper snowflakes, cut out candy cane decorations, and gingerbread also helped set the scene. Some light-up candy canes lead the way to the backyard area where there are a few more gingerbread people skating on an ice rink (aluminum foil with a border of fake snow). 




The gingerbread people were made by Katie out of cardboard and some markers and glitter! A few of us had small trees at home so we brought those in and placed them near the skating rink to look like trees outside.

Some snow falling from the sky and snow drifts on top of the cubes.

Emily and I created the illusion of snow falling by using some fishing line and tying cotton balls in random places. Deanna used her dye-cut machine to create a bunch of adorable tiny snowflakes which we also strung on the fishing line and hung from the ceiling. A few evergreen trees cut from paper and other cute lil snowmen/stuffed animals were spread throughout the area.

When the time for judging came around, Katie had made homemade gingerbread cookies (a little bribe doesn’t hurt!?) for the judges to eat as they walked by. As if they needed any convincing. There were a few other cubes that were nicely decorated, but nothing quite like our theme. 






Of course, we won the best decorated cube contest, winning us the adorable ugly trophy for the year. Now, on to next year’s planning…. Can never start thinking too early… ;)


Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, indoor
Katie showing off the ugly traveling trophy that isn't going to travel! :)
Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and indoor
Deanna and Katie standing in their cube....errr....gingerbread backyard

Check out the Child Care Aware of ND facebook link for a few more panoramic pictures.



Check out the adorably hideous traveling trophy we won! Who am I kidding? Traveling trophy!? That would mean someone else would have to win next year and we aren't going to let THAT happen!