Thursday, September 17, 2015

Needlework: Hats, Hats and More Red, White & Blue Hats! Go Pats!

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With football season upon us, I thought I would knit up some hats in the colors of our family's favorite team - The New England Patriots!
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This free Lionbrand pattern is very easy and works up quickly so it did not take long to make hats for the entire family.
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I did do a variation of the beginning with 2" of K1P1 ribbing at the bottom of the hat rather than 12 rows of stockinette stitch and I used a 
size 7 needle and 79 sts. for a child size and 90 sts for an adult size.
You can view the rolled bottom version of this hat here.
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And here are a few more hat variations.
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Monday, May 4, 2015

Helpful Hints: Cleaning Deck/Pool Furniture

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Cleaning the deck and the outside furniture each year is a tedious job....up until I discovered a new product on the market called 
"30 Second Cleaner".  After seeing it at our local Ace Hardware Store and trying it out, I then purchased it in bulk at Home Depot online.
We needed a product that could also successfully clean our "ChoiceDek" and this product did a fabulous job with less effort than we expected.  
Here is a before and after photo of two chaise lounges.  
As you can see, the furniture was in need of cleaning!
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After "30 Second Cleaner" the furniture and the deck looked brand new. 
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Crafts: Easter Bunny Face Cloths

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This is a cute way to do the seating arrangement at home or at an Easter brunch in a restaurant.  I found directions here: Washcloth Bunny Rabbit.

My version is a little different.  I picked up face cloths at the $1 store and instead of a plastic egg in the center, I used a Milky Way "egg".  And I simply used cotton balls for the tail and nose.  These I attached with double stick tape for easy removal.  The actual name card is the tag on each bag of candy. 

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Needlebork: Shamrock Pins

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 I found this cute shamrock pin pattern here and instead of using glue to apply the pin, I sewed the pin to the shamrock.  The pins can be found at Michaels and A C Moore stores.  These could also be sewn to a snap barrette which you can locate at Dollar Tree Stores.

Materials and supplies:
Crochet hook size J
Small amount green worsted weight yarn
Pin back
Hot glue and hot glue gun

Chain 3, join with a slip stitch in first chain to form a ring.
Petal (make 3): Chain 3, trc, dc, trc, ch 3, slip stitch in ring.
Stem: Chain 4, sc in 2nd chain from hook, and slipstitch in remaining two chains. Fasten off.
Weave in ends.
Lay right side down on heat proof surface. Hot glue pin back to petal opposite the stem.
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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Needlework: February Valentine's Flag

February brings Valentines to mind and the sentiment I sewed onto this flag is a nod to the Necco candy hearts we have all enjoyed over the years. Click here to read about the history of Valentine's Day.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Needlework: Hat and Scarf

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This hat pattern, Eagle Bay Hat, works up quickly and you can add stitches to make a larger hat and use two strands of yarn if you don't use the thick yarn suggested in the pattern.
The scarf is simply K2 P2 throughout until you reach the desired length.  The scarf is made with a single strand of yarn.
For Valentine's Day you could crochet one of these Hearts to pin to your hat!

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Recipe: Martha's Chewy Chocolate Ginger Molasses Cookies

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 I made these cookies but omitted the fresh ginger and used a small ice cream scoop so yield was 36 cookies.  Also lessened the cooking time to about 12 mins. and substituted  Nestle's Chocolate Chunks for the semisweet chocolate.  

Martha Stewart's Chocolate Ginger Molasses Cookies


  • 7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar for rolling


  1. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter with brown sugar until combined. Add fresh ginger and mix until combined. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Slowly add to butter mixture, mixing until well combined.
  3. Add baking soda mixture and molasses; mix to combine. Stir in chocolate; Transfer to refrigerator. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Using a 2-inch ice cream scoop, scoop dough onto baking sheet, 2 1/2 inches apart. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll dough balls in granulated sugar and return to baking sheets. Transfer to oven and bake until surfaces crack slightly, about 18 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.                                                                                        
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Recipe: Red & Green Christmas Sugar Cookies

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I found this sugar cookies recipe on a greeting card my mother in law sent our youngest daughter when she was very young.  For approximately the past 30 years it has been my go to 
recipe and it never disappoints!  
I tint half the dough red and the other half green before rolling out.  
They can be made in advance and frozen.  
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Monday, December 22, 2014

Needlework: Crocheted Santa Ornament/Toy

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Another cute ornament for your Christmas tree is this adorable Santa.  He could double as a toy as well.  

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Recipe: Gingerbread Men

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It has become a family tradition  
each year that I bake gingerbread men and women to use as place cards on the table Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day. These can be baked ahead and frozen without decoration and are quite tasty.
 I use Betty Crocker tubes of red and green frosting to pipe names and minimal decorations on each gingerbread person: collars and ties for the men and holly for the women.
(printable recipe)
2/3 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco which now comes in bars)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup boiling water
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 cups flour

Cream the vegetable shortening and sugar until smooth.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients while continuing to mix. Batter gets very thick so a stand mixer works best.

Knead mixture on a board until it forms a ball.

Roll dough out, dusting the surface with flour to prevent sticking. You can  roll between two pieces of extra wide plastic wrap, flipping it over during the process and dusting lightly with flour.  I invested in a silicone pastry mat from the Williams Sonoma Outlet Store and it works beautifully.

Cut with cookie cutters and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 7-10 minutes at 375'.

To hang on tree, make a hole in head of gingerbread man before baking. Re-roll leftover dough to cut more cookies.

Recipe can be doubled and cookies freeze well.

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