A Crochet Baby Blanket

I'm pretty happy.  I finished my first big crochet project today – a baby blanket.

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I've mentioned before how, Morgan {my 18-month old}, is a superior blanket snob.  She prefers crocheted yarn over fleece, flannel, or anything else for that matter and wraps herself up snugly – precisely – all on her own.  My cousin nicknamed Morgan 'sleepy burrito' and usually on a given evening, when I look in before heading to bed, just a tuft of hair is visible at one end of her blanket. Everything else is tucked in just so.  If the stars are twinkling, you might just spy a toe or pinky finger peeping out of a loop in the blanket.  She'd been gifted all her others… it was time for me to make one.  A blanket for Morgan was my main reason for finally making it past the 'Chain Stitch' and learning to really crochet.

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I used a 5.5mm hook and this blanket was actually fairly simple – just a 'V-stitch' throughout.  I used a free pattern from the Lion Brand website and you can download it here: {V-Stitch Baby Throw}. It took me about a month to complete in my spare time.  Spare time… yeah, knowing full well I have five projects going at once.  They're all nearly done though as I rotate them pretty evenly. I just like to switch to a different feel of yarn some days, a different stitch or pattern another… or color… you know.  {smile}

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I used Baby Pink Solid Sparkle from the Bernat Baby Coordinates collection and I'm glad I did.  No, it didn't show off the 'V-Stitch' to its full potential {it's really a very pretty stitch} but, Morgan loves texture to fiddle with as she dozes and this yarn has that.  I liked the 'V-Stitch' with the 5.5mm hook – the 'holes' are just the right size.  Not too big and not too small – enough to peek through and breathe well but still be warm.  You can get an idea of how the 'V-Stitch' looks in the pattern download above.  And here is a link to the {yarn} if you'd like to see it. 

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I used three skeins of yarn, the blanket measures about 33" x 36" and I'd have needed a fourth skein to complete the border.  I'd have gladly added it; the pattern called for a super nice 'Picot' edging built on a row of 'Single Crochet' stitches – it just didn't show well with the 'nubbliness' of this yarn.  So, I did the row of 'Single Crochet' and left the 'Picot' part off.  I'd certainly make this blanket again in a smoother yarn to show of the 'V-Stitch' and the pretty edge.  So, yay.  I finished a blanket.  Morgan loves it and my heart is reveling in her delight over something I made.  There's no words to describe it.  The best?  Worth every stitch?  I don't know… but it makes my world.

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Home Economics in the 60′s

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Last week when I was scanning in some recipes for the Grandma Cake posts, I came across my Mom's recipes from Home Economics.  School was so different then.  Times have changed.  Teachers typed all this stuff and ran copies off at the dinosaur of a machine in the school office.  At any rate, my mother loved those classes – Home Economics was the highlight of her week.  Especially once she met my Dad, then it was all about home-making daydreams; sewing curtains and meal-plans, you know.  For years, I saved her high school binder where she'd scribbled his name hundreds of times.  There wasn't an inch of surface on the cover {inside and out} without ink that read 'Roy.'

Scan 9So, I scanned in a few pages of the handouts and recipes her teacher provided, the ones my Mom saved and used for years to come.  She only kept the recipes for things she loved, my father ate each of these prepared at a some point.  I've yet to try them as, by the time I was older and my mom re-married and was doing the 'family-meal' thing again, the box of recipes had been long misplaced.  She started trying new things without the oldies around.  Guess I'll be experimenting, I want to try all three of these.  There's a few more pages and I'll share those this month.  For now, here's the back of this page where my Mom {Lynn}, Greg {her brother}, Gary {their cousin} and Alba {another cousin's wife} were keeping score for a game of Rummy.  Neat little pieces of history stashed away in a recipe box, no? Was definitely one of my grandparents keeping score judging by the handwriting.  Up next is a homeschool update then, a post about letting Jesus heal our memories… you know, those ones we replay and just never seem to be able to shake. Anyway, may goodness and mercy follow you this week and the peace of God rule your heart and mind. heart

 

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My First Granny Afghan

Along with a newly acquired skill, comes a real itch to use it.

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IMG_6322That's how my first Granny Afghan began.  You know, a wise teacher will tell a budding student to start with a small project.  Something simple, you know, a quick thing to polish their skills and help them feel they've accomplished a project… quickly.  For me, that was a Mug Cozy.  But maybe I'm just a little weird because I went from that to a full-sized afghan needing like one hundred squares.  I remember, for most of my life, being the type to never finish a large project.  Now, years later – with a little more Jesus in my everyday – I usually finish what I start.  Of course there's times when a project just isn't working and I scrap it.  I guess the key is to get the project choice right the first time.  At any rate, there's more squares but these made it into the photograph this morning.  I'll take more progress photos as I start joining them.  Now that I've made all these already, I've decided to join them 'as-I-go' instead of after they're all done. Mind you, when I began this Granny thing, I only guessed what 'joining' was.  {smile}  Hindsight is twenty-twenty.  Locked myself away a bit this morning to get this post in.  You already know we homeschool so, my home is rarely child-free.  I got about 20 minutes into photos and posting and… there was a familiar rattling of the doorknob.  Wouldn't trade it for the world.  Scanning in some vintage recipes just now.  I'll share those tomorrow.

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Classic Reuben Spread

Who doesn't love a Classic Reuben Sandwich?  Someone, I'm sure.  There's always someone. {smile} That someone, however,  is not I.  It is absolutely one of my favorite styles of sandwich.  I had my first one in Perkins restaurant in central Florida when I was about seventeen.  Wow, it was absolutely delicious with toasted Rye bread, Swiss cheese, Sauerkraut and thinly sliced Corned Beef.  Traditionally, it comes dressed with Thousand Island and I usually leave it off.  Thousand Island has just never been my thing. 

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We get tired of layered sandwiches every now-and-then and this is a fun version to switch it up when need be. I asked for half of my one-pound order of Corned Beef shredded, the rest thinly sliced and used the shredded portion for this recipe.  {I halved the recipe for us} It's alright if you don't have the Caraway seeds around, just be sure your Rye bread is not seedless.  You'll still get enough of the flavor.  I chose to put it on bread but it'd be a wonder on crackers of any sort or pita slices. 

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I left my shreds of beef as they were from the butcher, for crackers, you may want to shred the spread a bit more with two forks when it's done.  We loved it and I discovered this recipe along my batch cooking journey. The recipe freezes well with the raw ingredients in a labeled zip-lock.  Batch or same-day cooking, it slips easily into a lined slow cooker or otherwise.  I used one of my smaller cookers, unlined,  in the morning and it was ready by lunch time.  I'll be posting some more of those older recipes from my family this coming week.  Haven't added any of those in quite a while.  Also, a homeschool update is ahead for those who are curious and some final photos of the room.  Hope you've all had a lovely couple of weeks while I've been busy.  Enjoy the Classic Reuben recipe, it's fantastic.  I want to try it with pickles on that square, little Pumpernickel bread my grandma used to use… so tiny and cute.  Anyway, here it is.

Classic Ruben Spread

1 lb Shredded or finely chopped deli Corned Beef

1 16-oz Can of Sauerkraut, drained

1.5 Cups Shredded Swiss Cheese, I just layered slices in the mix – it worked fine

1 Cup Thousand Island salad dressing

1 3oz Package of Cream Cheese, cubed

1 Tablespoon of prepared Horseradish {this really makes it sing}

1 Teaspoon of Caraway Seeds

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for up to two hours.  Stir it every now-and-then.   That's it.

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The Musing of a Pastor’s Wife – Our 21-Day Fast

Amanda

 

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled."
Matthew 5:6

 

Each January "The Fiddler" and I do a 21 day fast.  Our purpose is to start the New Year with a fresh focus.  
Being in full-time church ministry is a lifestyle, not just a job.  It requires much selfless sacrifice, and that don't come easy. Smile.
It's a mystery to me, but fasting and prayer causes me to cleanse.
Mind.  Spirit.  Body.
To begin fresh.  Focused.  Empowered.

Fasting and Prayer.

Prayer

It is easy to lose focus of our goals, dreams, and purpose.  
Without focus we just wander.  
If our focus is blurred with busyness and chaos, we live in a haze of lack.
There will be a lack of joy and fulfillment in life.
Fasting and Prayer changes that.

Will you join us?

We want to share our journey with you.
We will tell you how we've chosen to fast, and even share some recipes.

More importantly,
the purpose is to encourage others that fasting is a spiritual discipline, designed by God, and anyone is capable of doing it.  

It is not complex, as some might believe.

In addition to encouraging you, we want to see you blessed!  
Will you tell us your stories?

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Here are some points I have found to be true:

- Fasting trains the body to be subject to the spirit.

-Fasting deepens intimacy in your relationship with God.

- Fasting increases your ability to hear God's voice.

This week I will share more details, but for now I just want to get you thinking about starting your new year with a fast (even if just for a day).  

 

Another post about fasting has been written since this one.  Enjoy it here.

To see new items we've added to the shop, visit us here.

 

Loving and Living Life……… Amanda

 

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Chrochet & Knitting Travel Bags

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This is view ‘D’ on the pattern envelope.

I actually finished these a week or so ago, just didn't have a chance to snap the photographs till the other day.  I made the big golden one first.  You may recall my sewing one of these a few years ago {see it here} and falling in love with it.  The recent ones came out much better and I was brave enough to try the zippered pocket.  Well, I love this bag pattern just as much as ever.  So, I made a third.  The third is smaller and I actually want to make a couple more of this size too. Their uses turned out a little differently than I expected and the large one keeps a yarn stash for my current projects handy, the smaller one keeps my current project handy.  I've got two crochet projects going right now, I'm adding a third so, I'll need two more smaller bags.  Each project is in a different texture of yarn so I can grab whatever I'm in the mood for on a given day.

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These were my first set-in pockets with a lining. I was so happy I was able to do them!

IMG_6771As far as fabrics are concerned, these are tapestry and upholstery fabrics I picked up at a thrift store a few years ago.  {see them here} It was so nice to find the perfect project for them.  You know, sometimes I buy certain things because I love them on site but don't have a set use for them.  As, long as I can think of something I'd possibly make, it comes home with me.  The 'possibly' however, can occasionally stretch into an indefinite amount of time.  Then, the perfect use rises out of nowhere.  That's how this fabric was.  There's still quite a bit left too.  I'd really like to make some accessory bags to keep inside the larger ones.  Even then, there'll be a lot left.  {sigh} 

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Here’s the other pocket. It was the first one I tried this way. I’m used to putting zippers in clothing.

IMG_6772So, these bags work wonderfully.  The small one goes right along in the car with me for while I wait for anything.  I actually took it to choir practice the other night and worked on a granny square or two during a lull.  I did change the handle on the smaller bag during construction.  The pattern called for attaching it with buttons.  I just sewed in into the upper bag seam like the larger version.  Next time, I'll take better care with placement as well, so the stripe of the fabric {the smaller one with pink} goes right down the middle of the bag.  It's not perfect, just handmade and lovely to live with. 

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My 4oz yarn balls, perfect size for a travel bag with multiple colors.

photo(9)I also got to break in my yarn winder.  I can use store-bought center pull skeins – they work great.  It's when there's several colors in a project, those big skeins can be a lot to travel with.  So, I was winding little balls of yarn up by hand… and winding… and winding… you get the idea.  My little winder was under $30 on Amazon and I found it here.  There were some mixed reviews.  I just popped the little thing together and followed the instructions – works like a dream.  You'll need a table without a beveled edge though or the winder's grip will loosen after you're winding a while.  I found my dining chairs actually have a squared edge.  I just sat on the floor by the fireplace and wound yarn with some tea while the girls were napping.  You may also need a bit of tape in the round to hold the yarn when you begin.  This is only for nubbly, bulky yarn that's an odd fit in the groove provided.  Saved me soooo much time.  I wound all the yarn in the larger photo in fifteen minutes, maybe less.  Anyway, I pray you're having a lovely new year full of God's creativity and lots of fun projects!

 

 

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