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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Re: Springtime Headband with Photo Tutorial on: December 04, 2013 10:05:39 PM
Thanks for taking a look at my tutorial. I think some people just have a certain shaped head where headbands just don't stay on well. I'm wondering if you tried putting lines of puffy paint or hot glue on the inside of the headband if it would stay put -- kind of like those fancy hair ties with rubbery stuff on them.
2  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / Re: Baby Winter Boots on: September 07, 2013 01:39:54 PM
This tutorial is very clear. Way to go!
3  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Chunky Candyland Cowl on: February 09, 2013 10:40:15 AM
I'm relatively new to the crochet world (I'm used to needles, not hooks) and I've been trying to find ways of practicing crochet while producing useful stuff. I'm not much into potholders and scrubbies, but I came up with a chunky cowl pattern that I wanted to share. It uses up my vast stash of yarn and it's super easy.

Various colors of worsted yarn.
Size P crochet hook
Darning needle
Crocheting with two strands at the same time, chain 52 stitches. I like to do the foundation-free method, which you can easily find on Google. This way I dont have one row thats wider than all the rest. Slip stitch into the first stitch, creating a big loop.
1. Bring in your next color by chaining 2 stitches. DC into each stitch all the way around, making 2 DC in the last stitch. Slip stitch to the top of the first DC.
2. Bring in the new color and Ch 2. DC all the way around and slip stitch into the top of the first DC.
Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have 58 stitches or 13 rows, whichever comes first.
Cut yarn and draw up through the last loop. Weave in all the ends. I weave them in as I go, but you could also tie the bits of yarn to one another and clip them short.

For more information and photos, check out my blog post: http://alaskaknitnat.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/crochet-candyland-cowl/
4  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Re: Ear flap hat tutorial on: January 18, 2013 10:45:25 PM
Really nice ive been searching high and low for this thanks. Now the only problem is my double points and circulars are 8s. Will that be ok if not how do I adjust?

It might take a little tinkering, but it's totally doable. I would either use yarn that is meant for size 9 or 10 needles so the hat will be a bit bulkier or make the size larger in the pattern. Normally I use 72 stitches for my hats on size 9 or 10 needles. With size 8 I would probably use 80 stitches and if it's too big, give it to a guy and try again. That's why I love knitting hats. They don't take incredibly long to make so if it doesn't turn out right you can always make another.

Good luck!
5  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Re: Cabled Calorimetry Headband w/tutorial! on: January 09, 2013 11:06:37 PM
It's been a very long time since I've made this headband, but I'll try and help you. First off, this pattern uses a circular needle, but the headband isn't knitted in the round. It's still knit back and forth as though you were using straight needles. I just have an easier time doing cables when I'm using a circular needle. I wasn't sure if you were trying to knit this in the round.
As I reread this pattern, I'm noticing an error between rows 3 and 4. At the beginning of row 4 I instruct you to remove a marker when I didn't tell you yet to place that particular maker. Row 4 should read "Slip 1 purlwise, P3, place marker. Start cable pattern: K4, P4 to marker. Turn work." By the middle of row 4, if you stop and look at your work you should have two markers on either end, both 6 stitches in from each end.
When the pattern states "remove marker," I mean for you to take the marker off the left-hand needle, work the next four stitches, and then place the same marker on to the right-hand needle. With each row you knit, the farther in the stitch markers go toward the center. The markers are there so that you don't accidentally go too far on each row. This will create the tapered shape to the headband.
I apologize for the delay. I haven't been on craftster for a while. I hope my explanation makes sense. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I'll check back in a few days.
6  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Re: Paint stirrers + push pins = nice necklace rack on: February 01, 2012 08:18:00 PM
And I'm still using it two years later. I still love it.
7  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Crock Pot Stuffing on: November 24, 2011 09:52:31 PM
I know Thanksgiving has come and gone, but I thought I could share this recipe anyway since holidays are still in order and stuffing might be just around the corner.

I'm excited to say that I have found my most delicious method of cooking stuffing -- the Crock Pot.

I don't like to stuff my turkey because it makes the turkey take longer to cook and it doesn't always cook the bird evenly.

I've always cooked my stuffing, or dressing if it's outside the bird, in a casserole dish in the oven, but this year I wasn't hosting our Thanksgiving feast so I had to find an easy way to transport the stuffing and a good way to keep it heated while it's waiting for the main event. I also didn't want to take up the hosts' valuable post-turkey oven space.

A Crock Pot makes perfect sense. It cooks slowly and keeps moisture in throughout the process. It's kind of like a turkey. It's also easy to transport and once it arrives at its destination it can be plugged back in and kept warm outside of the oven until dinner is ready to be served.

What I discovered is after several hours of slow cooking, my stuffing was moist and flavorful, as though it had been scooped straight from the turkey.

Here's my family recipe for melt-in-your-mouth turkey stuffing.


1 cup of chopped onion
2 celery stalks, chopped
Cereal bowl full of sliced crimini mushrooms (Less than a carton)
1.5 packets of breakfast sausage links
1/2 cup golden raisins
3/4 can of medium black olives, chopped
14 oz. bag seasoned bread cubes
3/4 cup finely chopped parsley
3/4 stick of butter
2 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper
A large crock pot

 Start making this when you're ready to eat breakfast. This way you can eat a couple of sausage links with some eggs while the other ones are cooling. Brown all the sausage links in a big saute pan. Once they are cooled, chop them into little rounds.

Slice the mushrooms using a hard-boiled egg cutter. I love this trick I invented that I'm sure other people have also come up with!

Add 1 Tbs. butter in the saute pan and heat on medium-high. Add the celery, onion and mushrooms and cook till everything is softened, about 7 minutes.

Spray the inside of the crock pot with Pam and dump in the bread cubes. Add the breakfast sausage, mushrooms, onion and celery.

Use the hard boiled egg slicer again for the olives. It's a cinch!

Add the raisins, olives, parsley, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.

Cut the butter into little cubes and mix into the stuffing. Periodically pour in the chicken stock between mixing so everything is well incorporated.

Put the lid on the crock pot and turn it to low. Let it cook for 4-5 hours. Don't remove the lid until you're good and ready cause it takes a long time to reheat the crock pot.

Fluff the stuffing just before serving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

For more photos of this recipe, please visit http://knitnatak.blogspot.com/2011/11/crock-pot-stuffing.html
8  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Re: Greek Dolmas Recipe on: November 19, 2011 10:39:05 PM
Thanks so much for the recipe!  I love dolmas and have always wanted to make these for my husband.  About how many grape leaves come in a can?  Did you have any problem with them tearing?

I've made them twice. The first time I only had one option for the grape leaves at the store I went to. They were about $5.50 for the jar. There must have been about 40 or so leaves, uniformly sized and not a lot of tears or holes. The second time I made them I had two options of grape leaves. I went with the least expensive kind just to see how they were. They were all different sizes and there were lots of tears and holes. My conclusion is to buy the classier looking ones.
9  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Greek Dolmas Recipe on: November 19, 2011 05:18:24 PM
I've never been a big fan of those little Greek treats wrapped in grape leaves known as dolmas, or dolmades, until recently. My tastes must be changing now that I'm pregnant! But after attending a wedding reception last week and downing about a dozen of them, I thought I should try making them myself.

They were a lot of fun to make and they were so tasty that I had them for dinner instead of as an appetizer.

The grape leaves were a challenge to find, but eventually I spotted them in the aisle with the jars of roasted red peppers. 

This recipe makes about 36 dolmas. Enjoy!

1, 8-oz. jar of grape leaves, drained
1 onion, grated
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 cup of raw white rice
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
2+ cups water, divided
1/2 cup golden raisins, chopped
1/2 pine nuts
1/2 finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
several dashes of allspice, to taste
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, or to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 lemons, juiced and sliced (slice them after juicing)

For the filling, heat a large saute pan with 1/4 cup of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and zest and cook, stirring once in a while, for 10 minutes. Add the rice, pine nuts and raisins and stir so that the rice is thoroughly coated in oil. Cook for 2 minutes then add 1 cup of water. Stir rice frequently and cook for 10 minutes so rice absorbs the water. If the water evaporates before this time is up, just add a bit more water.

Transfer mixture to a bowl and combine with the parsley, mint, salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Taste mixture and make sure you like the flavor. Let it cool.

While this cools, prepare the grape leaves by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Lay the grape leaves flat and set into the pot. Cover and return to a boil, then turn off the heat and let the pot sit for ten minutes. Drain and set the leaves in a bowl of cold water until you're ready to fill them.

Take a dutch oven and put a plate inside of it. Cover the plate with grape leaves that have tears or holes in them. This will prevent the dolmas from burning while you're boiling them.

Now it's time to make your dolmas.

First, lay out a leaf veiny-side upward and trim away any of the stem.

Place about a tablespoon of filling at the base of the leaf where you trimmed the stem. Pack it with your fingers so it's in a little mound.

Fold up the right corner of the leaf over the filling, then fold up the left leaf. Fold in the sides and roll it up!

Place dolma seam-side down in the dutch oven. Pack them in really tight and when you run out of room, cover with a layer of grape leaves and start a new layer of dolmas.

When you've run out of filling, used up your grape leaves or run out of space in your pot, pour 1/4 cup of olive oil, lemon juice and about a cup of water over the dolmas. Fill the pot with water until it reaches halfway up the top layer of dolmas. Take your lemon slices and fit them in between and on top of the dolmas. Place a plate upside-down on top of your dolmas and if you have space, place another plate right-side up on that one. This will weigh down the dolmas so they don't unwrap while they boil.

Place the lid on top and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes. Test a dolma. If the rice is still firm, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes or so.

Enjoy with plain Greek yogurt!

For more photos and information, visit my blog post at http://knitnatak.blogspot.com/2011/11/greek-dolmades.html
10  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Dress Shirt Tote Bag -- With Tutorial! on: September 26, 2011 11:31:44 PM
I had crafts on my mind as soon as my husband told me he was getting rid of his old dress shirts and ties -- I just hand't figured out what to make.

After much thought, I decided to make a lined tote bag out of one of his shirts and to use a neck tie as the handles. It was my husband's idea to add the tie to the front. I just love how he gave me a tie clip too!

One large button-up dress shirt
Lining fabric (about 1/2 yard)
One neck tie
Stiff iron-on interfacing

Sew a seam along the buttons so that you can no longer button and unbutton the shirt. There should be seam already there for you to follow.
Measure two 15x16-inch squares of the lining fabric. Do the same on the dress shirt, but make sure the buttons are centered at 7.5 inches. The shirt pocket may need to be sacrificed a little bit.

Cut the interfacing a little bit smaller than the body of the bag and iron it to the wrong sides of the exterior fabric.
Turn down the top edge of all the bag parts by one inch.

Sew the edges and bottom of the exterior fabric, right sides together. Do the same for the lining.
Iron open the seams. Turn exterior fabric right side out and slip the lining inside it (keeping it inside out)

Pin the top edges together, making sure the lining doesn't poke out above the exterior.
Now you'll need to figure out how long you'll want your necktie straps. Add an inch to each side of the strap once you know how long you prefer it. Cut the tie into to equal lengths. One strap will probably be wider than the other because the tie is tapered, but I think it's cool that way!
I measured two inches out from the center buttons and pinned my first strap in place, nestling the raw strap edge between the lining and exterior fabrics. I eyeballed the second strap based on the placement of my first.
Make sure the straps are equal lengths by holding the bag the way you normally would. Make adjustments if necessary.

If you'd like to add the tie to the front, measure how long you'd want it to lay and add 1.5 inches. Set the raw edge between the lining and exterior fabrics and pin in place so that it sticks up and away from the bottons. You'll be sewing a seam and the tie will flop over, hiding the seam.

Sew all around the edge of your bag, leaving a one-inch seam allowance. Sew another seam all the way around, but very close to the edge.

If you'd like more photos or would like to know how to give your tote a flat bottom, visit my blog posting at http://knitnatak.blogspot.com/2011/09/i-just-nearly-had-heart-attack.html (I'm not sure why Blogger decided to label the link the way it did, but it will take you to the tutorial).
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