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Update 2/11/2014 – DIY Mug!

Ok I know this update is a little late. I’m supposed to update on Saturdays, and it’s Tuesday. BUT, I had food poisoning/the flu (not sure which) this week and it set me a little bit behind on everything. So there was nothing to blog about on Saturday. I finished a custom order for two hats, and now I am moving on to a baby hat/booties/blanket set! I am really excited about it, it’s my biggest order yet and I think it’s going to be super cute! I haven’t made the booties before, so I’m making a practice pair for my Daisy to be sure they come out perfect. In the mean time, I did a spontaneous craft project today that turned out to be really fun! And so, SO easy. I’m sure you have probably seen this DIY mug idea before, it’s all over the internet. But in case you haven’t, I’ll post the instructions here with photos of my own. You only need three things:

  • A white mug of any shape or size. I got mine at Wal Mart for $3, and they actually have a pretty cute selection of different white mugs. I know that most dollar stores also carry them.
  • Sharpies of any color. The fine tip work best.
  • An oven set at 350 degrees.

Simply draw your design on the mug, and set in the oven for 30 minutes. Couldn’t be ANY easier, right? This is the first one I’ve made, but with how well it turned out I might end up making a whole collection. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, so my mug is a quote that I love from the books.

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Make sure you set your mug on a baking pan! This would be a really fun project for kids, too. Or a fun gift. The possibilities are pretty much endless with these!

 

That’s it for today, I will update with the baby booties next!

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Update 2/1/14: My Favorite Button

Ok, first things first. Update on the Etsy shop: I have created and named it! My brand name will be Daisy Baby Designs (DB Designs). I originally wanted Crazy Daisy Designs, but upon a google search, a larger company by that name already exists. According to my marketing research, you generally want to pick a name that has a chance at coming up toward the top of a google search. I tried many different combinations, and Daisy Baby won out. I have also designed my logo and created a Facebook page for DB Designs. Check it out here. Oh, and I have a twitter! When my Etsy shop is finally up and running, I’ll be tweeting and posting new listings. So be sure to ‘like’ and ‘follow’ me!

Now for the fun part. We’ve gotten almost a foot of snow in my area over the last couple of days, so I have been house-bound with my ten-month-old. I decided to try my hand at a couple of new things, one of them being attaching buttons to crochet pieces! It is way easier than I thought it would be. I made a coffee mug cozy, and an ear warmer. Both for myself, which I justified by convincing myself I was practicing…Anyway, they came out pretty great! Both are made from scrap yarn I had stocked up from previous projects. I found the buttons in a pack at Jo Ann’s a while back, and I couldn’t resist buying them. I have been itching to use them ever since! Mug cozies and ear warmers are easy for me to whip out in a short amount of time, so I’m thinking I will make quite a few of them for my shop. Maybe even matching sets of mug cozies with fun colors and buttons! Both of the patterns that I used, I found for free via Pinterest. So I am posting links to the patterns, with pictures of how mine came out below.

I am hoping to make Saturday my blogging day. I will try my best to update every Saturday with the progress I’ve made during the week. As always, thanks for reading!

Coffee Mug Cozy

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Free Pattern

Ear Warmer

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Free Pattern

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I’m back from my Holiday Hiatus!

If you are still following me at this point, I thank you. The holidays ended up being a very busy time for me this year; between chasing after my now very mobile infant, and making handmade gifts for our whole family, I didn’t have a whole lot of extra time on my  hands. I apologize if you left a comment and I was not able to respond. I am hoping to pick up the pace on my blog, as I have an exciting new project starting up this year. Being a Coloradoan, after the Broncos won the AFC Championship I decided to try my hand at selling some Denver-inspired crochet items. So far, I have sold 7 items. Which is honestly more than I had anticipated. I have also discovered that I enjoy selling my handiwork a whole lot. I had previously considered opening up an Etsy shop, and now I know I definitely will. I have a lot of work to do before the opening, but I am hoping to have it up and running by Easter. Until then, I will be doing loads of research and building up my inventory. My shop won’t only feature crochet items, I am also going to experiment with handmade headbands and tutus. Mostly baby girl things, but I will make some adult and baby boy items. I am very excited to start this new adventure, and would love any tips or suggestions! I will keep the blog updated with the progress I make!

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A Hat for the Dino Lover in Your Life

hatThere are so many crochet projects I want to get done for Christmas, I am starting now so I might have a chance at getting most of them done. The first one I wanted to tackle was a hat for my 9-year-old little sister. She is a budding paleontologist, so it was an obvious choice when it came to the pattern for her. (When I say ‘budding paleontologist’, I’m totally serious. She knows more about dinosaurs than any single person I’ve ever met.) I think she’s totally going to love the stegosaurus beanie I made for her. It only took maybe 2 hours total work time to finish it, and I think it’s my best piece yet! I chose a Bernat brand worsted 4 ply yarn for the multicolored beanie, and Red Heart Super Saver worsted 4 ply for the spikes and border. I love the Bernat brand, it’s relatively inexpensive and super soft. Red Heart is a little rough, but it worked perfectly for this project. I wanted to pick colors for her that were at least a little girly, as dino things geared toward girls aren’t terribly easy to come by. Not a lot of girls begging their parents for dinosaur shirts and hats, I guess. Anyhow, here is a link to the free pattern! I can’t wait for my sister to open this up on Christmas morning!

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Easy Chevron Infinity Scarf

scarf1I have officially finished my first crochet scarf! It took me about 2 weeks, due to limited time to work on it. But now that it’s finally done, I love it! It was extremely easy, any beginner could probably make it. I chose this pattern for the chevron detail. I chose to do mine in all black, but it could be made in multiple colors if you wanted to accentuate the chevron. The original pattern is located here. I have pasted the pattern below with a couple of my own notes.

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Materials:

  • Black Yarn
  • 9.00 MM crochet hook (I used a 7 MM and it turned out just fine- adjust according to what yarn you use)

Key

ch – chain

sc- single crochet

sk – skip

 

Scarf

ch 40

Row 1-15: working in front loops, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in the next 9 ch, 3 sc in next ch, sc in 8 ch, sk 2 ch, sc in 8 ch, 3 sc in next ch, sc in 8 ch, sc 2 in next stitch, chain 2 – turn (at the end of each row, you will have two extra stitches- this is correct. This will create a zig zag on the sides as you go. You will add a trim at the end to even that out.)
Row 16-30: working in back loops, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in the next 9 ch, 3 sc in next ch, sc in 8 ch, sk 2 ch, sc in 8 ch, 3 sc in next ch, sc in 8 ch, sc 2 in next stitch, chain 2 – turn
Repeat rows 1-30 until you reach desired length. Connect ends with a row of sc.
Trim: Row 1-2: sc in row ends around entire scarf on both sides. 2 rows both sides.

 

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Experiments in Candy-Making

toffee2With Halloween officially over, the need to prepare for the Holiday Season is already nagging at me. I love making all sorts of sweet treats this time of year, but I am always nervous to try out new recipes. I am starting to experiment now, so I don’t end up with desserts that don’t turn out right at the last minute. And I don’t care if it’s only November 1st, there will be Christmas music playing while I bake.

My first experiment is with English toffee. I LOVE toffee. The only other time I have tried to make it, it didn’t end up turning out at all. So of course toffee is the first thing I want to try my hand at. As far as ingredients go, toffee is extremely simple and all recipes are pretty similar.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Milk Chocolate (I used about 1/3 bag of chocolate chips)
  • Chopped nuts- walnuts, pecans, almonds, whatever you want. (Optional. I opted out, because nuts sound kinda healthy and this is CANDY.)

Directions

  1. You’re going to want to get your toffee-cooling surface ready first. I just used a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Whatever you choose to use, be sure to line it with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Unless you are using silicone molds, which I’m hoping to purchase for future toffee.
  2. In a heave sauce pan, melt the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt together. Your burner needs to be on high. Continuously stir the mixture for the entire duration of heating time with a metal or wooden spoon. And I mean stir VIGOROUSLY. If your arm muscles aren’t begging for mercy, you aren’t stirring enough.
  3. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Continue stirring and heating on high for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the toffee is caramel-colored (you’ve seen toffee before- it needs to look the color you would expect toffee to be). If you have a candy thermometer, that’s about 300 degrees.
  4. As soon as the mixture has reached desired color, IMMEDIATELY poor onto your prepared cooling surface. If you are using silicone molds, use a metal scoop and make sure to work quickly and keep stirring the mixture as you go.
  5. Allow the toffee to cool completely, which should take about 2 hours.
  6. Melt the chocolate. I simply microwaved my chocolate chips for a couple minutes until they were easily spreadable. You can get all fancy with a double-boiler if you so desire. Use a butter knife or a spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly over the toffee.
  7. Sprinkle on the chopped nuts while the chocolate is still melt-y. The chocolate will take a few hours to completely harden.
  8. After the toffee and the chocolate are completely cooled & hardened, break it apart or pop it out of your molds.

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The above photo is what your toffee should look like. This was my second batch. My first batch didn’t turn out so well:

toffee3As you can see, it’s way too light in color. This is because I took it off the stove a couple minutes too early. It started to look like it was burning on the bottom of my saucepan, and I panicked. The second batch, I simply stirred faster when it got to that point and let it get darker in color. It even smelled a little burnt, but it tastes amazing and the texture turned out exactly right.

Toffee makes an excellent gift at Christmas, and is always tasty to have for a treat. If you do decide to give it a try, don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t turn out right for you the first time. I have found that candy takes patience and experimenting. I hope my tips help!

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Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Tenders

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I have to share the chicken recipe I tried for dinner last night. It’s so easy to throw together, and I already had all of the ingredients. Prep time was maybe ten minutes, bake time was 30. I will definitely be making this often.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts, cut into strips (this is what the original recipe calls for, I just used tenderloins)
  • Brown sugar
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Bacon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Season your chicken with the salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder. (Original recipe didn’t have specific amounts- I definitely used more chili powder than anything else.)
  3. Wrap one piece of bacon around each piece of chicken.
  4. Roll the bacon-wrapped chicken in brown sugar.
  5. Place in baking dish with 2-3 tablespoons oil (I totally skipped this step, because I hate oily chicken. Just spray your baking dish with cooking spray if you also want to skip the oil).
  6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, just until chicken is cooked through (Mine took 30 minutes. The bacon wasn’t as crispy as I would have liked, so next time I might try turning the broiler on high for the last 10 minutes).

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How easy is that?! The flavor on these is unbelievable. A little bit sweet, and a little bit smoky. Not to mention, BACON. I served mine with baked potatoes. I bet these would also turn out great on the grill!