Crochet Dreidel (free pattern)

This year is our family’s first time celebrating Hanukkah, and I am trying to embrace that by making some decorations for our home. (Christmas decorations are easy to find; Hanukkah ones not so much.) Even finding patterns to make your own is difficult, so I created this dreidel and am excited to share it here today. 

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Crochet Dreidel

Gauge is not important to this project. Use any yarn you like and an appropriate hook for the yarn. The hook and yarn you choose will affect the size, but not in a positive or negative way. It’s all about preference. I used worsted weight yarn and a size H hook to get a dreidel about 3x3x5 (including the stem).

Side Panel: make 4

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chain 11. SC in second chain from hook and each chain across. Ch 1. Turn. (10)

Rows 2-10. SC across (10). Ch 1. Turn.

Row 11: SC2tog, sc 6, SC2tog (8)

Row 12: SC2tog, sc 4, SC2tog (6)

Row 13: SC2tog, sc 2, SC2tog (4)

Row 14: SC2tog twice (2)

Row 15: SC2tog (1)

Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

On each panel, surface slip stitch a (stylized) Hebrew letter.

Top:

Chain 11.

Row 1: SC in second stitch from hook and all the way across. Ch 1 and turn. (10)

Rows 2-5: SC across. Ch 1 and turn. (10)

Row 6: SC in first 4 stitches. Chain 2. Skip next 2 stitches. SC in remaining 4 stitches. Ch 1 and turn. (8 SC + 2 chains)

Row 7: SC in all stitches, including the two chains. Ch 1 and turn. (10)

Rows 8-11: SC across. Ch 1 and turn. (10)

Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Into the buttonhole made in row 6, attach yarn with a slip stitch. Ch 1. SC into same stitch. SC in each of the other 5 stitches around the buttonhole (the two chains on each side, plus one side stitch on opposite sides.) Join with slip stitch to first stitch of round and chain 1 but do not turn. (6)

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Rounds 2-4: SC around. Join and turn. (6)

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Round 5: SC2tog three times. (3)

Fasten off and use the short tail to close the top of the “stem.”

Construction:

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Sew the top of the side pieces to the sides of the top piece, one at a time. (See pictures for clarity.) Starting at the bottom of each side piece, sew them together until you get to the upper corner of each one. Stuff lightly before sewing the final side closed.

I hope this blesses someone out there!

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How to Crochet Surface Slip Stitch

How to crochet surface slip stitch | ladybugdaydreams.com

I have a free crochet pattern that I’ll be posting in a couple of days, but I wanted to post this tutorial on the surface slip stitch first, because my pattern requires use of the technique. You may be asking yourself, What is surface slip stitch? It’s simply a way to stitch designs onto your work that’s easier than using a crochet chain as an appliqué. The method is easy once you get the hang of it, so if you’ve never used it before, I hope this inspires you to try.

How to crochet surface slip stitch | ladybugdaydreams.com

The main thing to remember about this technique is that your working yarn should be behind your main piece all the time. With that in mind, here’s a step by step tutorial. (These steps assume that you know how to crochet and have an idea of the design you want to make.)

1. Insert your hook from front to back of your work, right where you want your design to begin. Attach your “drawing” yarn to your hook with a slip knot, then pull the loop through to the front.

how to crochet surface slip stitch | ladybugdaydreams.com

 

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2. Keeping your design in mind, push your hook down through the fabric about one stitch away from where it is now. With your hook on the back of the fabric, yarn over and pull up a loop. With that loop now on the front of your fabric, complete the slip stitch.

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3. Continue in this fashion until you’re done with your design.

4. When you’ve completed your last stitch, remove the hook from your work and gently pull out the final stitch. Push your hook back through the fabric in the same spot you just undid that stitch from, this time from back to front. Grab the loop from the second to last stitch and carefully (without pulling too tightly and distorting your stitches) pull it to the back. 

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5. Break the yarn and fasten off as normal. Tie the beginning tail and ending tail together in a knot at this point, just for extra security. This also assures that your work will stay in place without you having to weave in the ends (since your yarn is probably a contrasting color to your main work, weaving the ends in is less than ideal). Once the tails are knotted together, you can cut the ends short. 

I hope this helps you!

Blessings,

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Dollar Tree DIY winter welcome sign

I’ve been watching loads of “Dollar Tree DIY” channels on YouTube lately (did you even know there was such a thing? They’re so cool!), and they’re all very inspiring. These crafters have sent me into the Dollar Tree store more during the past three months than in the past three years! And one of those times, I saw this snowman sign that I knew I wanted. The only problem with him was that he said NOEL at the bottom, and I wanted a sign that would last all winter long. So, using some tips and inspiration from all those YouTube creators, I made a few adjustments to my snowman to make him look more winter and less Christmas. Here’s what I did (Unfortunately I don’t have a before picture, and I can’t find the sign I got on Dollar Tree’s website either.)

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First, I found a gift bag that said “Season’s Greetings” in a font I liked (also from the Dollar Tree). I cut the “greetings” portion off (because after all, “greetings” is another way of saying “welcome”). After sanding all the glitter off of the “Noel” part of the sign, I used Mod Podge to glue the paper down. Because I was using Mod Podge, I also painted glue over the top of my bag cutout.

I got a piece of blue fabric from Walmart for 97 cents and cut out pieces for his scarf and mittens, using Mod Podge to cover up the red. I had some jingle bells leftover from another project, so I painted 8 of them in “cool blue” paint from Apple Barrel (50 cents at Walmart). Then I used hot glue to apply them over the top of the ornaments on the snowman’s wreath. 

I love how this sign turned out, especially for my first project of this type. Seeing it outside my door every time we come or go makes me happy, and I won’t be embarrassed to leave him out all winter now.

Blessings,

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Crochet 2019 Calendar Blanket

All year long, I’ve been working on a “mystery crochet along” or MCAL, with Jayda from the YouTube channel Jayda InStitches. She does one of these every year, but this is my first time participating (definitely not my last though!). For 2019, the calendar blanket is a mural of sorts. We started the year, way back in January and February, by crocheting the canvas for our blanket. The color changes represent different landscape areas, from the dark blue “water” at the bottom up through the light blue “sky” at the top. 

Each month from March through December, there has been a new appliqué to crochet and sew onto the blanket – some months two or more. As of today, we’re still waiting for the December appliqué pattern to be released. There will also be a border added this month. (I will post the blanket in its entirety when I finish.) But for now, here’s what I’ve done on it. 

March: Sun

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April: Trees
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May: Barn

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June: Town

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July: Lighthouse

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August: Tractor

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September: Sailboat

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October: Pumpkins and Sunflowers

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November: Horse

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In addition to these “official” parts of the blanket, Jayda has released a few optional appliqués. I haven’t gotten around to those yet, but I do plan to add them to my blanket as well (clouds, toadstools, and evergreen trees). I also added the tractor’s trailer on my own (no pattern), thanks to a suggestion from Seahawk (my 16-year-old son). And of course, a tractor pulling a trailer to the barn needed to be full of hay! I will also be adding a sheep next to the horse. 

 

Create Your Own Book Ads with BookBrush (review)

Being married to a graphic designer who specializes in books, we’ve been on the lookout for a way for him to easily take his book covers and make them look like actual books for use in ads. This has been difficult for many years… until I was emailed about BookBrush.com. I looked over it briefly, then asked Will if he wanted to try it out for review and he said, “Sure.” So I requested the review, and we’ve been playing with it a bit over the past couple of weeks.

BookBrushImage-2019-4-23-12-557Using the website was fairly easy for Will, considering his experience with graphic design programs in general. In just a few minutes, he was able to poke around, learn how it was laid out, and upload his own book covers onto their templates. Now his flat image looks like a real book, ready to be used in ads! In a matter of 20 minutes, we were able to put together 3 “books” and one Instagram ad. And before we’d been at it very long at all, he was already asking me, “How much does this cost?” I think that means it’s safe to say he was very impressed with the site and already thinking beyond our review access and into purchasing a subscription.

(For the record, there are two pricing structures. You can set up a free account – no credit card required – and make up to 3 images per month, plus have access to a limited number of Book Brush’s 3D templates, stamps, and fonts. Or for $8 per month, you can create unlimited images, have access to ALL of the 3D templates, stamps, and fonts, the ability to upload your own fonts for better branding, get 5 free video creation credits per month, and customer support. Both accounts give you access to over a million background images and the ability to upload your own.)

Book Brush Mag Ad InstagramIn addition to making your flat cover images look like real books, there are templates for e-books, so you can put your book cover right on an “iPad.” The stamps I mentioned in the pricing structure paragraph are things like the Amazon and Audible logos (among many others), which show customers where they can buy your product. There are loads of fonts available for the text you include on your ad, and you can put it in a box (like we did above) or right on the transparent background. There are also image-based backgrounds you can use. We went with a plain one because that fits our product best.

If you’re in the business of selling books, you should definitely check out Book Brush. I think they’ll be your new best friend.

Blessings,

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Tree Frogs documentary

As part of the older boys’ honeschooling, they each have to complete 2 semester-long projects each year. This teaches them time management as well as gives them the chance to really explore a personal interest on a deep level. 

For his first semester project this school year, Seahawk made a documentary about tree frogs. He used mostly stock images coupled with information he found from several different sources. Small Fry acted as his narrator. The film was made using Adobe Spark Video on my iPad. I hope you enjoy the “show”!

 

The Best Chocolate Cookies Ever

We like cookies. A lot. One day when I was looking for a new recipe, I found one for chocolate chip cookies, but with a twist: the dough is chocolate and the chips white. I’ve adapted it a tiny bit, and now am sharing our new favorite cookie recipe. 

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The Best Chocolate Cookies Ever

Makes 72 small cookies 

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 

1 1/3 cup sugar (all white or half white, half brown)

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

~*~*~

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar(s) together. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. 

3. Turn the mixer off. Add flour, cocoa, soda, and salt. Turn the mixer back on and let it run until the dry ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix or your cookies will be tough. 

4. Roll the dough into small balls about the size of a “shooter” marble. Place on a baking sheet 1-2” apart (they will flatten but not really spread). 

5. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a serving plate. 

~*~*~

Blessings,

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Photo Update

Because it’s been a few weeks since I posted here, here’s a “photo dump” of some of the things we’ve been up to lately. Some of them will justify a post of their own, so look for those in the next couple of weeks.

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Dragonfly turned 3 back in November, and he really loves PJ Masks (a show on Netflix for those who are unfamiliar). We had a small party for him, and I made 2 cakes inspired by the characters. This is “Gekko.” The other one was “Catboy.”

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When you have a baby to care for and laundry to fold, sometimes this is the easiest way to transport both together 🙂

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Karate Frogs is a new feature in Will’s Casey and Kyle magazine. Seahawk (now 15) is the illustrator for the stories.

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We made “ninja bread” cookies at Christmas time.

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I let Dragonfly watch a movie one day while I was at the house with just him  and Bumblebee (the others were at dance class). I needed to care for the baby, so a bit of tv was necessary. I came back a few minutes later to find him like this. 

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We got each of the boys one “big” gift for Christmas this (well, technically last) year. For Dragonfly, it was this suit because he’d long outgrown his previous one. This picture was taken by Seahawk.

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Seahawk danced the title role in the boys’ dance studio’s production of The Nutcracker. Munchkin got the role of the toy soldier, which had been Seahawk’s the past two years. Small Fry was finally able to start classes (girls start practically from birth, but boys have to be 6), and he was so cute as a part of the Russian dance with his Boys’ Movement peers (including both big brothers).

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I made this knitted Nutcracker doll for Seahawk as a commeraration of his lead role.

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Bumblebee turned 4 months old on December 29th.

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Seahawk got a crystal growing kit for Christmas from one of his aunts and this was his first attempt.

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We got some apples from church the week before Thanksgiving, and they were terrible. Absolutely no flavor. So we didn’t eat very many of them, but ended up leaving the box on the back deck. Several weeks later, we noticed that many of the apples were missing (the box was nowhere near as full as it had been) and most of those left had been eaten. A few days later, we learned why!

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We, especially Will, have been reading the Bible with a much more literal interpretation, and ignoring our own cultural points of view on it. That, plus finding a good Greek interlinear version online, led us to discover and believe that contrary to popular belief, the Old Testament laws regarding things like the Sabbath and clean/unclean foods are still very much in effect. We have since given up all unclean foods (in our diet, this was primarily pork and non-fish seafood). The boys and I also work hard on Fridays to prepare the food we need for Sabbath (sunset Friday until sunset Saturday). On the week I took this picture, I made burritos on homemade flour tortillas for Saturday lunch.

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Last but not least, Bumblebee turned 5 months old earlier this week.

Blessings,

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Heirloom Audio review (guest post)

I have a guest review to share today from my older boys. Munchkin and Seahawk will each be sharing their thoughts on the newest production from Heirloom Audio, which is called St. Bartholemew’s Eve. They’ve been listening to this as their history lessons for the past couple of weeks, and this review is the final assignment for that “unit.”

There might be some overlap because both boys are reviewing the same thing, but I wanted to make sure to let them both have a turn. I’m not changing anything except their grammar and punctuation as needed (which wasn’t bad). 

Munchkin (12 years old)

St. Bartholomew’s Eve starts with a boy named Philip. He is in France talking about the Huguenot cause with his aunt. They go riding.

Next, Philip is training to sword fight. He also learns to use pistols for extra protection in battle. His cousin tells him that it is time for battle. The battle is long, but The Huguenots eventually retreat.

Now, they go to the city to rescue Philip’s friends. They meet a boy named Argento. He shows them where the city officials live. They capture the president and other city officials. They give the president one hour to come back with Philip’s friends. After Philip’s friends are safe, he warns the president to not harm anyone else in the city.

Another battle ensues, and when the Huguenots are on the verge of defeat, Philip fires his pistols and the Catholics retreat. He then hears word that the president is harming people in the city again.The Huguenots lay siege on the city, and Philip goes in to rescue Argento. Philip then notices that there are X’s on the doors of all the Huguenots. He then goes to rescue Argento’s parents.They disguise as Catholics, but are captured and rescued by Philip’s friends. They escape. When they arrrive at the chateau, there is a battle. The Huguenots win. They escape. Then they go to Paris to make peace with the king, but are betrayed and slaughtered.

I liked St. Bartholomew’s Eve. Of all the audio dramas so far, it has been one of the best. My favorite part where they meet Argento. I liked this part because I like Argento.

My least favorite part is the beginning.I didn’t like the beginning because it was not exciting enough.

There are my thoughts about St. Bartholomew’s Eve.

Seahawk (14 years old)

Phillip is a British nobleman. He is in France meeting his cousin about the persecution of the Protestant Christians in France. They are in the middle of a war with the Catholics over the right to worship God in the way they deem correct. He and his cousins are the commanders of the Protestant Huguenots.

Our story begins with Philip talking to his aunt. She then sends a servant to fetch his cousin while they discuss the Huguenot cause. He and his cousin then go riding.

Philip stays with them for several months while he practices fighting and strategy. Some time later, he and his cousin hear word that Huguenot city has been oppressed, so they ride to meet the other officers in a small town in the north of France. In this meeting, Philip, his cousin, and several other officials of the Huguenot army are making plans to meet the prince in a town outside Paris to organize an invasion of the city. However, on further examination, this proves more difficult than anticipated, so Philip proposes another plan. Instead of attacking Paris, attack a Catholic stronghold in the west of France where there is a high population of oppressed Huguenots willing to take up arms to help recapture their city from the Catholics.

They go on to win several battles and are then called to Paris to make peace with the king. While all of their major leaders are at home the next night, the Catholic soldiers mark the Protestants’ doors and massacre them all. Philip and his friends get away with the exception of his cousin. 

I like this one kind of a lot. It has a very similar feel to In Freedom’s Cause, and that is one of my favorites. What I mean by “similar feel” is the order that things happen and the way they are framed. In this one, it is a lot of leaders interacting with each other, and more of them making plans as opposed to just chaos. I like this versus the other Heirloom stories because you can connect with the characters more easily and see the way they think. It helps you be able to predict where it will go, and it is fun to see it play out. For example, somewhere in the first disc there is a scene in which Philip and his cousin are lying in hospital beds. One of the higher ranking officers walks in to congratulate them for their success in battle. He also knights them both. Knowing Philip from having listened so far, me and Munchkin paused the CD and tried to predict how this would go down. We predicted that Philip would decline the knightship and he did. 

One of my favorite things about these is it’s a fun way to learn important historic stories. I think that all of them have their strengths and weaknesses but they are very well done as a rule. 

 

St. Bartholomew's Eve {Heirloom Audio Reviews}
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