Failure Free Reading (review)

Disclosure: I received this product free through the Homeschool Review Crew.

For the past few weeks, Grasshopper (8 years old) has been working with the Failure Free Reading Home Edition. As a kid who’s struggled with reading, I thought it might be helpful for him.

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When I first received access to this program, it was easy enough to set up the account. There are two options for student login: with a picture or without one. I set Grasshopper up using the “with a picture” option. This means that when you click “log in,” you only have to type the password. From there, a grid of pictures is on the next page and your student has to choose the correct one associated with their account to complete the login process. Once we had that set up, the first thing the program had us do was the placement test.

I liked how all throughout the placement test process, we were reminded that it wasn’t a big deal. It’s important, obviously, but it was okay for students to get some of the answers wrong – that’s the point of a placement test, after all. This test was long. It took us 2 schooldays to get through it, and that was with me helping him heavily. There would have been no way Grasshopper could have made it through the test at all without my help.

But we did make it through, and Grasshopper was put into a vocabulary building section of the program. We used the program 3-4 days a week, except for the week we didn’t have WiFi because of the winter storms. (We were lucky to never have lost power, but our internet was down for an entire week, which caused problems for homeschooling.)

The word building part of the program introduces lots of new words (I think 5 per week, but I never actually counted them), and they are complicated words, especially for a child. I think that’s great though. The words are vocabulary that an older teen or adult probably use regularly, but are new and difficult for a younger child (think obstinate, recalcitrant, and other words like that). This is perfect for a vocabulary program! Each day, the process is a little different from the day before, but all the lessons build on one another.

IMG-7270First, the word is introduced. The program doesn’t require your student to know the words or be able to read them in advance – good thing for a vocabulary lesson! It will read everything out loud to them. The student should listen to what’s being said and examine the word carefully as everything is happening though. They’ll need all the information about each word that they can absorb during the lesson. When they feel comfortable with this, they can click continue to move on to the next step.

IMG-7271After learning and hearing the word (and hopefully examining its spelling), a synonym and definition is introduced. For most of the words, I found the synonym to be more helpful than the definition. And for words with multiple (but similar) definitions, I thought the voiceover reading was a bit too quick between the definitions. They tended to run together too much for my taste. But my son didn’t seem to have any qualms over the speed, so maybe it was just me. Again, here students should examine the screen and really focus on the word and its definition(s).

IMG-7272The next step is comprehension – using the word in context. The program gives a sentence using the word and the student’s job is to determine whether that word has been used correctly based on the context of the sentence. This comes in handy because in later lessons of the week, a paragraph is provided using all the words of the week (these can be a bit clunky and unnatural; imagine a 3-4 sentence paragraph incorporating 5 vocabulary words). Having had a bit of introduction to sentences with the words already makes that a bit easier to wrap young minds around.

IMG-7273Remember before when I said students should examine and memorize the word? That’s because they’re going to be asked to type it correctly before the day’s lesson is over. This will happen with each word of the week.

These steps repeat for each word. And this is all on the first day of the new list. Activities change throughout the week, but they all use the same set of words.

So what did we think? I’m a bit torn, honestly. First of all, I thought the placement test was way too hard. Maybe that’s because my son doesn’t care about reading (he takes after his oldest brother in that regard), so getting through it was like pulling teeth. But when we did, and we were able to move on to the actual lessons, it was smooth sailing. I liked the vocabulary aspect. I don’t think it provides “failure free reading,” but I think it is a fantastic resource for vocabulary words.

Make sure to read more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew, too.

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

Oregon Ducks crochet blanket (with graph / method)

When I posted pictures of my Blazers blanket on Instagram, an old friend saw it and contacted me about the possibility of making one for her son’s upcoming birthday. His favorite team is the University of Oregon Ducks. I told her that was absolutely a possibility, so we worked out the details and I got started!

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The first thing I had to do was create the graphs for the corner to corner pieces (the logo O and the word banners). The O I found online by Googling “University of Oregon pixel logo.” The words were a bit trickier. For those, I got out my graph paper and chose a rough size for the graphs (I went with 11×70 pixels). I divided that space up into equal sections, depending on how many letters I needed to create. Then in that space, I drew standard bubble letters. Using those as my guidelines, I created my pixel graphs for the words.  

IMG-7169With my charts done, I crocheted the O logo and the two words using the corner to corner method. (See below for the row by row pattern.) I used my standard How to Border a C2C blanket to create white borders around all 3 pieces.

I used a size I hook (5.5 mm) and the “chain 3, double crochet” method for my pixels. This made my centerpiece 24 x 24 (it was a 32 pixel square graph) and my banners 11 x 60 inches. So I knew then that I needed to expand the center square until it was 60 inches wide. A little bit of math told me that meant I needed to add 18 inches to each side (60 – 24 = 36 / 2 = 18). I really liked the mesh stitch I’d used in my Blazers blanket, so I decided to do that again. (This will be an upcoming square for my sampler stitch blanket.) I talked to Ballet Boy, who has a keen eye for fashion, and he suggested that I do this expansion primarily in the green, rather than even green and yellow stripes. He though the O would get lost if the stripes were too even. I talked to my friend, and she agreed, so I went forward with that plan (wide green, narrow yellow). 

Because I had already made a simple border around the corner to corner design (one row of single crochet, one row of double crochet), it was easy to dive into the mesh stitch (a simple repeat of half-double crochet, chain 1, skip 1 for the first row and then the same for subsequent rows, just in the chain 1 spaces instead of true stitches). I worked the mesh for 13 rounds. This wasn’t planned so much as that was when the first skein of yarn ran out. I like nice sharp corners on my blankets, so I did this by chaining 2 between those HDCs instead of just 1 like the rest of the pattern. Every 3rd row, I doubled the corner to get it to expand flatly (hdc, ch 1, hdc, ch 2, hdc, ch 1, hdc, ch 1). I found that without some of the rows doing that, the blanket buckled around the design.

For the yellow stripes, I decided on something with bold texture. To begin, I worked a single crochet into each stitch and space if the mesh design. For row 2, I decided on bobble stitches. To make these, I worked 2 single crochets, then a bobble (essentially a double crochet 4 together, except all into one stitch instead of over 4 stitches), all the way around. Then I made one more row of single crochets all the way around (1 stitch at the top of each bobble and in each sc from the previous row). The corners on these rows were easier – just sc, ch 2, sc on all 3.

From here, I made another 13 rows of green mesh, then another yellow bobble stripe. By the time I had finished 11 rows of the final green stripe, I felt like I needed to measure. It was a good thing I did, too. It was basically perfect. 

I then used green yarn to whip stitch the banners onto the now-bigger center. 

And then it was time for the home stretch! To finish this blanket, I did a row of single crochets in green (sc, ch 2, sc in the corners), followed by 2 rows of yellow double crochets (dc, ch 2, dc in the corners), and one final row of green single crochets. 

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

 

 

Here is the row-by-row pattern for the three C2C pieces.

O

1: 1g

2: 2 g

3: 3g

4: 4 g

5: 5 g

6: 6 g

7: 7 g

8: 8 g

9: 9 g

10: 3 g, 4 y, 3 g

11: 2 g, 7 y, 2 g

12: 2 g, 8 y, 2 g

13: 1 g, 10 y, 2 g

14: 2 g, 11 y, 1 g

15: 1 g, 13 y, 1 g

16: 1 g, 14 y, 1 g

17: 1 g, 9 y, 2 g, 4 y, 1 g

18: 1 g, 4 y, 5 g, 8 y, 1 g

19: 1 g, 8 y, 6 g, 3 y, 1 g

20: 1 g, 3 y, 7 g, 8 y, 1 g

21: 1 g, 8 y, 8 g, 2 y, 2 g

22: 2 g, 2 y, 9 g, 8 y, 1 g

23: 2 g, 7 y, 10 g, 2 y, 2 g

24: 2 g, 3 y, 10 g, 7 y, 2 g

25: 2 g, 7 y, 11 g, 3 y, 2 g

26: 3 g, 2 y, 12 g, 7 y, 2 g

27: 3 g, 6 y, 12 g, 3 y, 3 g

28: 3 g, 3 y, 13 g, 6 y, 3 g

29: 3 g, 6 y, 13 g, 3 y, 4 g

30: 4 g, 4 y, 13 g, 5 y, 4 g

31: 4 g, 5 y, 14 g, 4 y, 4 g

32: 5g, 4y, 14g, 4y, 5g

Decrease from both sides:

33: 4g, 4 y, 14 g, 5 y, 4 g (31)

34: 4 g, 5 y, 13 g, 4 y, 4 g (30)

35: 3 g, 4 y, 13 g, 6 y, 3 g (29)

36: 3 g, 6 y, 13 g, 3 y, 3 g (28)

37: 3 g, 3 y, 12 g, 6 y, 3 g (27)

38: 2 g, 7 y, 12 g, 2 y, 3 g (26)

39: 2 g, 3 y, 11 g, 7 y, 2 g (25)

40: 2 g, 7 y, 11 g, 2, y, 2 g (24)

41: 2 g, 2 y, 10 g, 7 y, 2 g (23)

42: 1 g, 8 y, 9 g, 2 y, 2 g (22)

43: 1 g, 3 y, 8 g, 8 y, 1 g (21)

44: 1 g, 8 y, 7 g, 3 y, 1 g (20)

45: 1 g, 3 y, 6 g, 8 y, 1 g (19)

46: 1 g, 8 y, 5 g, 3 y, 1 g (18)

47: 1 g, 3 y, 3 g, 9 y, 1 g (17)

48: 1 g, 14 y, 1 g (16)

49: 1 g, 13 y, 1 g (15)

50: 1 g, 11 y, 2 g (14)

51: 2 g, 10 y, 1 g (13)

52: 2 g, 8 y, 2 g (12)

53: 2 g, 7 y, 2 g (11)

54: 3 g, 4 y, 3 g (10)

55: 9 g

56: 8 g

57: 7 g

58: 6 g

59: 5 g

60: 4 g

61: 3 g

62: 2 g

63: 1 g

 

 

Oregon

1: 1 g

2: 2 g

3: 1 g, 1 y, 1 g

4: 1 g, 2 y, 1 g

5: 1 g, 2 y, 2 g

6: 3 g, 2 y, 3 g

7: 1 g, 3 y, 3 g

8: 3 g, 4 y, 1 g

9: 1 g, 4 y, 4 g

10: 4 g, 2 y, 1 g, 2 y, 1 g

11: 1 g, 2 y, 2 g, 2 y, 4 g

12: 1 g, 1 y, 3 g, 2 y, 2 g, 2 y, 1 g

13: 1 g, 2 y, 3 g, 2 y, 2 g, 2 y, 1 g

Decrease from top

14: 2 g, 2 y, 2 g, 2 y, 3 g, 1 y, 1 g

15: 5 g, 2 y, 1 g, 2 y, 3 g

16: 4 g, 2 y, 1 g, 1 y, 5 g

17: 4 g, 4 y, 5 g

18: 2 g, 2 y, 2 g, 3 y, 4 g

19: 3 g, 3 y, 2 g, 4 y, 1 g

20: 1 g, 5 y, 2 g, 2 y, 3 g

21: 2 g, 2 y, 2 g, 6 y, 1 g

22: 1 g, 7 y, 2 g, 2 y, 1 g

23: 1 g, 1 y, 2 g, 8 y, 1 g

24: 2 g, 8 y, 3 g

25: 3 g, 3 y, 2 g, 3 y, 2 g

26: 2 g, 4 y, 2 g, 3 y, 2 g

27: 2 g, 3 y, 2 g, 3 y, 3 g

28: 3 g, 4 y, 2 g, 2 y, 2 g

29: 1 g, 8 y, 2 g, 1 y, 1 g

30: 1 g, 2 y, 2 g, 7 y, 1 g

 31: 1 g, 6 y, 2 g, 3 y, 1 g

32: 1 g, 4 y, 2 g, 5 y, 1 g

33: 1 g, 4 y, 2 g, 5 y, 1 g

34: 1 g, 6 y, 2 g, 2 y, 2 g

35: 6 g, 6 y, 1 g

36: 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 2 y, 6 g

37: 3 g, 1 y, 2 g, 2 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g

38: 2 g, 2 y, 1 g, 2 y, 2 g, 2 y, 2 g

39: 1 g, 3 y, 2 g, 1 y, 2 g, 2 y, 2 g

40: 3 g, 2 y, 4 g, 3 y, 1 g

41: 1 g, 3 y, 3 g, 3 y, 3 g

42: 1 g, 1 y, 2 g, 3 y, 2 g, 3 y, 1 g

43: 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 3 y, 2 g, 2 y, 1 g

44: 1 g, 3 y, 2 g, 6 y, 1 g

45: 1 g, 5 y, 3 g, 3 y, 1 g

46: 1 g, 3 y, 4 g, 4 y, 1 g

47: 1 g, 3 y, 5 g, 3 y, 1 g

48: 1 g, 3 y, 9 g

49: 7 g, 1 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g

50: 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 2 y, 2 g, 1 y, 3 g

51: 2 g, 2 y, 1 g, 7 y, 1 g

52: 1 g, 7 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g

53: 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 6 y, 2 g

54: 3 g, 5 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g

55: 1 g, 8 y, 2 g, 1 y, 1 g

56: 1 g, 1 y, 3 g, 7 y, 1 g

57: 1 g, 6 y, 3 g, 2 y, 1 g

58: 1 g, 2 y, 4 g, 5 y, 1 g

59: 1 g, 4 y, 4 g, 2 y, 2g

60: 2 g, 2 y, 5 g, 3 y, 1 g

61: 1 g, 2 y, 6 g, 1 y, 3 g

62: 3 g, 2 y, 6 g, 1 y, 1 g

63: 3 g, 1 y, 1 g, 1 y, 2 g, 1 y, 2 g, 1 y, 1 g

64: 1 g, 2 y, 1 g, 1 y, 2 g, 4 y, 2 g

65: 2 g, 4 y, 1 g, 1 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g

66: 2 g, 4 y, 1 g, 4 y, 2 g

67: 1 g, 5 y, 1 g, 3 y, 3 g

68: 4 g, 5 y, 2 g, 1 y, 1 g

69: 1 g, 1 y, 2 y, 4 y, 5 g

70: 2 g, 2 y, 2 g, 3 y, 2 g, 1 y, 1 g

71: 1 g, 1 y, 1 g, 3 y, 2 g, 4 y, 1 g

72: 1 g, 5 y, 2 g, 4 y, 1 g

73: 1 g, 3 y, 2 g, 6 y, 1 g

74: 1 g, 7 y, 2 g, 2 y, 1 g

75: 1 g, 1 y, 2 g, 8 y, 1 g

76: 2 g, 8 y, 3 g

77: 3 g, 3 y, 2 g, 3 y, 2 g

78: 2 g, 4 y, 2 g, 3 y, 2 g

Decrease from both sides:

79: 2 g, 3 y, 2 g, 3 y, 2 g

80: 1 g, 4 y, 2 g, 2 y, 2 g

81: 1 g, 8 y, 1 g

82: 1 g, 7 y, 1 g

83: 1 g, 6 y, 1 g

84: 1 g, 5 y, 1 g

85: 1 g, 4 y, 1 g

86: 1 g, 2 y, 2 g

87: 4 g

88: 3 g

89: 2 g

90: 1 g

Ducks

1: 1 g

2: 2 g

3: 3 g

4: 4 g

5: 1 g, 3 y, 1 g

6: 1 g, 4 y, 1 g

7: 1 g, 5 y, 1 g

8: 1 g, 6 y, 1 g

9: 2 g, 6 y, 1 g

10: 1 g, 6 y, 3 g

11: 1 g, 1 y, 1 g, 4 g, 3 y, 1 g

12: 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 2 y, 1 g

13: 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g

Decrease from top:

14: 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g

15: 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g

16: 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g

17: 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g

18: 2 g, 2 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g

19: 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 1 y, 3 g

20: 1 g, 1 y, 4 g, 2 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g

21: 1 g, 6 y, 4 g, 1 y, 1 g

22: 1 g, 2 y, 4 g, 5 y, 1 g

23: 1 g, 5 y, 4 g, 2 y, 1 g

24: 1 g, 3 y, 4 g, 4 y, 1 g

25: 1 g, 3 y, 5 g. 3 y, 1 g

26: 2 g, 2 y, 9 g

27: 8 g, 3 y, 2 g

28: 3 g, 2 y, 8 g

29: 7 g, 3 y, 3 g

30: 1 g, 1 y, 2 g, 2 y, 7 g

31: 1 g, 4 y, 2 g, 2 y, 1 g, 2 y, 1 g

32: 1 g, 3 y, 1 g, 7 y, 1 g

33: 1 g, 11 y, 1 g

34: 2 g, 10 y, 1 g

35: 1 g, 9 y, 3 g

36: 1 g, 1 y, 2 g, 8 y, 1 g

37: 4 g, 4 y, 2 g, 2 y, 1 g

38: 1 g, 3 y, 2 g, 4 y, 3 g

39: 2 g, 4 y, 2 g, 4 y, 1 g

40: 1 g, 5 y, 2 g, 4 y, 1 g

41: 1 g, 3 y, 3 g, 5 y, 1 g

42: 1 g, 5 y, 1 g, 1 y, 2 g, 2 y, 1 g

43: 1 g, 1 y, 2 g, 2y, 1 g, 5 y, 1 g

44: 1 g, 4 y, 2 g, 3 y, 3 g

45: 2 g, 4 y, 2 g, 4 y, 1 g

46: 1 g, 4 y, 3 g, 4 y, 1 g

47: 1 g, 4 y, 3 g, 4 y, 1 g

48: 2 g, 3 y, 3 g, 4 y, 1 g

49: 1 g, 4 y, 3 g, 3 y, 2 g

50: 3 g, 3 y, 2 g, 4 y, 1 g

51: 1 g, 4 y, 1 g, 4 y, 3 g

52: 4 g, 8 y, 1 g

53: 1 g, 7 y, 5 g

54: 1 g, 3 y, 2 g, 6 y, 1 g

55: 1 g, 5 y, 2 g, 4 y, 1 g

56: 1 g, 5 y, 2 g, 4 y, 1 g

57: 1 g, 3 y, 2 g, 6 y, 1 g

58: 1 g, 7 y, 5 g

59: 4 g, 8 y, 1 g

60: 1 g, 3 y, 2 g, 4 y, 3 g

61: 2 g, 4 y, 3 g, 3 y, 1 g

62: 1 g, 3 y, 4 g, 4 y, 1 g

63: 1 g, 3 y, 4 g, 3 y, 2 g

64: 2 g, 3 y, 5 g, 2 y, 1 g

65: 1 g, 1 y, 5 g, 3 y, 3 g

66: 3 g, 4 y, 6 g

67: 5 g, 4 y, 4 g

68: 5 g, 4 y, 4 g

69: 3 g, 4 y, 2 g, 3 y, 1 g

70: 1 g, 4 y, 2 g, 4 y, 2 g

71: 1 g, 4 y, 2 g, 5 y, 1 g

72: 1 g, 6 y, 2 g, 3 y, 1 g

73: 1 g, 2 y, 2 g, 7 y, 1 g

74: 1 g, 8 y, 2 g, 1 y, 1 g

75: 3 g, 9 y, 1 g

76: 1 g, 4 y, 2 g, 3 y, 3 g

77: 2 g, 3 y, 3 g, 4 y, 1 g

78: 1 g, 4 y, 3 g, 3 y, 2 g

79: 1 g, 3 y, 4 g, 4 y, 1 g

Decrease from both sides:

80: 1 g, 4 y, 3 g, 3 y, 1 g

81: 1 g, 3 y, 2 g, 4, y, 1 g

82: 1 g, 4 y, 1 g, 3 y, 1 g

83: 1 g, 7 y, 1 g

84: 1 g, 6 y, 1 g

85: 1 g, 5 y, 1 g

86: 1 g, 4 y, 1 g

87: 1 g, 3 y, 1 g

88: 1 g, 2 y, 1 g

89: 1 g, 1 y, 1 g

90: 2 g

91: 1 g

Here is the downloadable file if you’d rather do that.

Ducks row by rows

Adding a Border to a Corner to Corner Blanket

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Most corner to corner blankets that I’ve seen are made either really big (like my Mickey Mouse blanket), or small like a wall hanging or baby blanket. In neither case do you usually see them with a border. But I’ve discovered recently that one of my very favorite ways to make crochet afghans is by making a small or medium sized motif and then adding lots of wide borders until my blanket is a size I like – or until I run out of yarn, whichever is first! What I’ve never seen before, though, is how to add a border to such a blanket, so I thought I’d share the how-to on that today. (And the method will be handy in a few days when I post my next project/pattern.)

When you create a corner to corner blanket, look at it carefully. You will see that the design is made with squares – sometimes called pixels – of different colors to create a picture. These pixels, because if the nature of stitching back and forth in rows, go in opposite directions. You can see this clearly in my picture above. So the first thing to do is to examine your blanket and see which way the pixels are slanting. Some will be normal, where your double crochets are up and down, and some will be sideways, where your double crochets are stacked atop one another. Once you can see the difference, you’re ready to go!

Step 1: Make a slip knot from your border color yarn and place it on your hook. Slip stitch to one corner of the blanket (doesn’t matter which one) and chain 1. Single crochet, chain 2, single crochet. Corner made. 

Step 2: Look at your blanket and determine whether your double crochets are vertical or horizontal. In the pixels where they are vertical, make a single crochet in the top of each one (you will have 3 SCs). In the horizontal ones, make 2 double crochets around the outermost stitch. So for every 2 pixels, you will be making 5 single crochets. 

Step 3: Continue your sets of 3 and 2 all the way across the edge. At the next corner, SC, ch 2, SC.

Step 4: Repeat around. At the end of the last side, remember that you already made that corner so don’t make another one. Instead, join to that first SC with a slip stitch. If you want to continue your border in the same color, you can start your main border pattern now. If you want to change the color, cut your yarn and fasten off. 

That’s it! I hope this was clear enough. If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below. 

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

Tomato Plus Soup (recipe)

We’ve been eating a lot of soup for lunch recently, and I wanted tomato soup one day. Problem was, I didn’t have any canned tomato soup. I did, however, have lots of canned tomato products and boxes of broth, plus some veggies in the fridge. So I came up with this recipe.

I’ve made tomato soup in the past, but only blended recipes. Unfortunately, I wasn’t careful enough that day and ended up covered in hot soup. Not fun, and not something I wanted to repeat, so I left the vegetables intact – and in fact embraced that aspect by including diced tomatoes as well as the sauces. This aspect is where the soup got its name. When I served it, my husband said, “It’s like tomato soup, plus.”

I hope if you try it, you like it. 

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Tomato Plus Soup 

1 medium onion, chopped 

2 carrots, peeled and sliced 

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce

1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)

2 cans (6 oz each) tomato paste 

1 box (32 oz) vegetable broth 

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried parsley

2-3 teaspoons sugar, to taste (this keeps it from tasting like spaghetti sauce)

Saute the veggies in a bit of oil until the onion begins to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Let soup cook 15 minutes or more to give the herbs time to soften. Serve with your favorite grilled cheese sandwich!

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

Crochet Sampler Square Blanket: Square 3, Filet Shells

Another Friday, another square in my Sampler Blanket! I hope you’re enjoying stitching the squares along with me.

I’ve moved on from spring green for today’s square (remember, I’m using up scraps of yarn for this project), and I’ve made my Filet Shells square in teal. This yarn is Mainstays Basic (the Walmart brand) that I’ve had in my box for a long time. (My yarn stash is confined to boxes in my closet because our home isn’t big enough for me to have a “yarn room” like so many others. Someday! In the meantime, at least my boxes are pretty.)

So… Filet Shells. This stitch is the longest row repeat of the blanket so far (future blocks will get shorter again), but it’s one of the easiest. I hope you enjoy stitching it up with me!

sampler blanket square 3

Filet Stitch

Shell Stitch: (2DC, ch 1, 2DC) in same stitch

Using a J hook, ch 37. Switch to the I hook for the remainder of the square.

Row 1: DC in 4th ch from hook and in each ch across. Ch 3 (counts as DC). Turn.

Row 2: *Sk 2 DC, shell in next st, sk 2 DC, SC* Repeat across. Chain 5 (counts as DC+ch2), turn.

Row 3: *SC in ch1 space of next shell, ch 2, DC in next SC, ch 2* Repeat across, ending with DC in the last SC. Ch 5, turn.

Row 4: *DC in next SC, ch 2, DC in next DC, ch 2* Repeat across, ending with DC in 3rd ch of turning chain. Ch 5, turn.

Row 5: DC in next DC. *ch 2, DC in next DC* Repeat across. Ch 1, turn.

Row 6: SC in first DC. *Shell in next DC, SC in next DC* Repeat across, ending with a SC in 3rd ch of turning chain.

Repeat rows 3-6 three more times, for a total of 4 repeats.

Border: Join your border color into one corner with a slip stitch. Ch 1, then SC, ch 2, SC into that same corner space. Single crochet around the square making sure you end up with 36 total stitches between the ch-2’s of the corners. On the raw edges (sides), this will be 2 SCs for every DC on the edge.

And that’s it! It seems complex because there are so many rows in the repeat, but just take it one stitch and row at a time, and you’ll be fine. Next week’s pattern is a lot simpler, and if you read my post on my Blazers Blanket, it will be very familiar!

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

Blazers Blanket

I recently finished up a blanket showcasing the logo of my favorite NBA team, the Portland Trail Blazers.



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For this blanket, I looked in Google images for a pixel graph, then I stitched it up using the corner-to-corner method. I set it aside for a while then to work on other projects (including the Mickey Mouse blanket and some of the sampler squares). One of my sampler squares caught my attention as a wonderful design – so easy and somehow outrageously satisfying – and knew that I wanted to use it for the border of the blanket. It was a simple half double crochet, chain 1 repeat. Perfect for TV or audiobook time!

B133BC95-C3E7-4112-A118-31BB387A2CA5As a bonus, once I finished the blanket and posted a picture on Instagram, an old friend contacted me and commissioned a blanket for her son. It will be a similar design, but with his favorite team. 

Have you ever stitched anything in honor of someone else?

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

Crochet Sampler Square Blanket: Square 2, Diamond Blocks

Welcome back to my Crochet Sampler Square blanket project! Did you make Square 1 with me? If not, you can find it here.

Today I have the pattern for the second square for you. It’s called Diamond Blocks, and is quite pretty. You might begin to notice a pattern with today’s square – all of the blocks will begin with a chain of 37 and have a single crochet border of 36 stitches on every side. This will make it easier to sew them all together at the end.

But without further ado, here is the pattern for Diamond Blocks.

sampler blanket square 2

Diamond Blocks

SC=single crochet

DC=double crochet

ch=chain

sk=skip

st=stitch

Shell=(DC, ch 5, DC) in specified st or ch. Shell made.

~*~*~

With a size J hook, ch 37. Switch to a size I hook for the remainder of the square.

Row 1: DC in 4th ch from the hook and in next 3 chs. *sk 2 chs, shell in next ch, sk 2 chs, dc in next 5 chs* repeat across. Ch 3, turn. (ch 3 counts as first DC of following row)

Row 2: DC in next 4 DCs (remember to skip the first one because the ch 3 accounted for it). *ch 2, SC in 3rd ch of shell, ch 2, DC in next 5 sts* Repeat across, ch 3 (counts as DC), turn.

Row 3: Sk next DC. *Shell in next st (the middle one of the 5), sk 2, 2 DC in ch-2 sp, DC in SC, 2 DC in ch-2 sp, sk next 2.* Repeat until you have 5 sts left (including the turning ch). In the final 5, sk 2, shell in next, sk 1, DC in top of turning ch. Ch 4 (counts as DC+ch 1), turn.

Row 4: *SC in 3rd ch of shell, ch 2, DC in next 5, ch 2* Repeat until the last shell. In the last shell, SC in 3rd ch, ch 1, DC in top of turning ch. Ch 3 (counts as DC), turn.

Row 5: DC in next ch 1-sp and in next next SC, 2 DC in ch-2 sp. *sk 2 DC, shell in next DC (the middle one), sk 2, 2 DC in ch-2 sp, DC in SC, 2 DC in ch-2 sp* Repeat until you get to the last ch-2 sp. At that point, 2 DC into the space, DC in SC, DC into each of the top 2 turning chains.

Repeat Rows 2-5 3 more times, then end on Row 2 (18 total rows).

Border: Join your border color into one corner with a slip stitch. Ch 1, then SC, ch 2, SC into that same corner space. Single crochet around the square making sure you end up with 36 total stitches between the ch-2’s of the corners. On the raw edges (sides), this will be 2 SCs for every DC on the edge.

See you next week for Square 3!

Blessings,

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Crochet Sampler Square Blanket: Square 1, Lattice

Over the next few weeks, I am going to be making a crochet blanket using a series of different stitch patterns, each stitched up into a square. When all of the squares are done (I’m not sure how many yet; probably 24 or 30), I’ll sew them together to make a blanket. I will be sharing my squares, along with their patterns, here. My goal is to release either 1 or 2 patterns per week. I would be delighted to have you stitch along with me! I will be using a variety of 4-weight acrylic yarns (using up what I have on hand, mostly) and a size I crochet hook, but you can use whatever you like. Keep in mind that yarn weight and hook size can change up the size of your squares considerably, so you might want more or fewer depending on how big they turn out. Mine are about 10 inches.

Keep in mind a few things if you decide to crochet with me. First, whatever yarn weight you decide to use at the beginning, keep with that same yarn weight throughout the project. This will help keep your squares fairly uniform. Additionally, use the same hook sizes throughout for the same reason. And finally, use the same yarn fiber throughout. You could probably get away with mixing fibers with similar washing instructions, but it’s best to keep things cohesive just in case. You wouldn’t want to mix acrylic and wool, for example, and forget that you’ve used wool, machine wash the blanket, and end up with severe puckering because the wool has felted while the acrylic did not.

Here is the first square of the series, Lattice.

sampler blanket square 1

Lattice Square Pattern (American crochet terms)

DC=double crochet

SC=single crochet

ch=chain

sk=skip

Using a size J hook, chain 37. Switch to size I hook for the remainder of the square.

Row 1: DC in 4th ch from hook, SC in same ch. *ch 2, sk next 2 chs, work (DC, SC) in next ch* Repeat all the way across the row. Ch 3, turn.

Row 2: In only the DCs, work (DC, SC, ch 2) all the way across. Skip all SCs and ch 2 spaces.

Repeat Row 2 16 more times (total of 18 rows).

BORDER: Join new color yarn in any corner. Ch 1, SC, ch 2, SC in same corner space. SC to get 36 total stitches (including the corner stitches) on each side. In every corner, work SC, ch 2, SC. When you get to the last side, remember that you’ve already worked the final SC; it was the first SC of the border at the beginning. Join to this stitch with a slip stitch.

That’s it for the Lattice Square! I hope you’ll join me next time for Square 2!

Blessings,

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SchoolhouseTeachers.com review (2021)

Disclosure: I received this product free through the Homeschool Review Crew

ST.com review 2021

Once again, I am taking part in the Homeschool Review Crew in 2021. The year is starting now, with a review of the Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership from SchoolhouseTeachers.com!

In case you’re unaware of SchoolhouseTeachers.com, it is the homeschooling curriculum home of The Old Schoolhouse magazine, and it is awesome! There is way more on there than I could ever write about in a single post, so I’m going to go over just a little bit of what we’ve been using.

history of hanukkahSince it was the beginning of December when we first got started with this year’s review, I started by doing the History of Hanukkah study with my younger kids (Grasshopper, 8, and Dragonfly, 5). Hanukkah ran from December 11-18 last year, so we did the history study in the week leading up to it. The unit study included an 18-minute video, a 65-slide ebook/powerpoint presentation, a 2-page student comprehension worksheet, and a printable dreidel game. I took a couple of days to read the ebook to the kids and we discussed the content as we went. When we’d finished, they watched the video, and we felt they were ready to celebrate Hanukkah!

Moving forward, I’m super excited to explore the School Boxes for my kids. These are full curricula, designed like the “box sets” you can get from other companies, except they are entirely digital. I’ve never had the ease of a full curriculum for any of my kids (except when we reviewed one last year, but we stopped using it for a variety of reasons), and I really love the idea of not having to piece-meal a curriculum. SchoolhouseTeachers.com has school boxes for all grades, Kindergarten through 12th, and when I say it’s a full curriculum, I really mean it! Check out the topics available:

K school box

K English sample pageAnd that’s just for Kindergarten! Each of those topics has a downloadable teacher’s guide. The guide tells you everything you need in order to teach the subject, from a list of the supplies to a weekly curriculum guide to keep you on track to the specific links for the lessons on the main site that you need to teach the lessons. It really is all-inclusive!

I didn’t look at all of the school boxes, just the ones I needed for my kids (K, 3rd, 9th, and 11th grades), and they are all just as amazing. The 3rd grade box is the same as the Kindergarten box, but it also has “History-classical” as an option. The 9th grade box includes math, literature, writing, spelling, science, traditional and classical history, and art. The 11th grade box includes the same subjects as 9th grade plus geography.

My teens are largely self-sufficient in their schooling when given the proper assignments, so I will be sending these PDFs to their emails (along with my login information so they can access the website) and keeping track of what they’re doing through regular checking in. I am so grateful to have access to these complete curriculum resources!!

But what if you don’t need a full box curriculum? That’s okay too! SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a fantastic place for “filling in the gaps,” which is how we’ve used it in the past. They have hundreds of classes for students of every age, in every subject imaginable. Even if you just want something for a short-term unit study, they have it! You really can’t go wrong with a membership.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is also a fantastic place for printable planners. The main planner available this year is the Smart Mama planner, which includes a interactive budget to help you track household expenses and is otherwise completely customizable. It has the ability to help you make transcripts for your older kids complete with including your digital signature in case you need to send those transcripts off to someone.

Other members-only benefits include the option to get a FREE tote bag (just pay S&H) as well as a free print subscription to The Old Schoolhouse magazine (as long as your membership stays active).

If you sign up by the end of the month (Jan. 31, 2021), you can get access to every single thing on the site for $139 a year, $16 a month, or $24.95 a quarter (automatically renewing in all cases). It’s normally $224.97 for the annual subscription, so it’s a substantial savings this month.

For more information on SchoolhouseTeachers.com, head over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog where you can read an introductory post as well as over 100 reviews (some blogs, some Facebook reviews, and some video reviews).

Blessings,

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Mickey Mouse C2C Blanket

I recently finished my biggest (yarn) project ever! I made this Mickey Mouse blanket for my mom for Christmas using the crochet corner-to-corner (C2C) stitch. There are a variety of ways to do this stitch, and I went with the double-crochet, chain 3 method. This made for an enormous blanket! It ended up being nearly 6×7 FEET! (The pattern is 80×100 pixels.) I used Big Twist yarn from JoAnn. I don’t remember the exact skein counts, but I think I ended up using 7 of the black and 3 of the white. Could’ve been more, though (I know it wasn’t less). I used my Clover Amour size I-9 crochet hook. The pattern is from Pixel Hooker, and it took me about 8 weeks to complete (though it wasn’t my only project the whole time).

mm blanket 1

mm blanket 2

I even used my pompom makers to make some Mickey pompoms for the corners! To do this, I made one big pom and 2 small ones for each corner, then hot glued them together in the shape I wanted.

mm blanket 3

What’s the biggest knit or crochet project you’ve ever made?

Blessings,

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