Size Doesn’t Matter

UPDATE January 2013:  I used my own pattern (below) to knit a hat for my wonderful friend and hair dresser, Minna.  She’s half of Love and Grace Photographs, who take beautiful pictures and have enlisted me to knit a prop hat in the past.  The hat turned out so much better this time using Jogless Stripes than last time!  I did 6 rounds of white for every 3 rounds of color, following the pattern written below.  Instead of braiding, I just knit a really long icord and attached an extra large pom pom.  I also made a large pom pom by wrapping yarn around my fingers a BUNCH.  I pulled yarn through the loop (sliding along my fingers), tied it, and cut.  Need a visual on how to make a pom pom?  Go here.  Martha also has great directions using cardboard (which I didn’t have, so I used my fingers!).   Here’s the hat I knit for Baby Amelia!  

Amelia's rainbow hat

There will be pictures of an adorable baby wearing this hat coming soon!

The rainbow and white yarn had little sequins attached. Darling!

The rainbow and white yarn had little sequins attached. Darling!

I’ve been trying to knit a baby hat for a couple of months now. I’d found a free pattern through Ravelry.com for a new born long tail hat. It was perfect! Except the person is better at knitting than I am, so the directions were not exactly made for a noob like me. I frogged it once (A knitting joke: What does a frog say? Rip it! Rip it! Meaning I pulled the whole thing apart and started from scratch) and started and stopped several times, but the time finally came for that baby to be induced, and I had to finish it. I would not let some tiny little hat conquer my fat fingers. Plus, I always keep my word, or at least try my damnedest to. My friends over at Love and Grace Photographs were counting on me to get this hat done for their photo shoot! Side note: they’re fab, check them out! This minuscule maternity prop would not best me! How could something so small be so hard?

Here is what it looks like:

It is pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

Here is what went wrong:
1. I used a smaller gauge yarn (but it was so soft and pretty). Tiny yarn is hard to knit with!
2. I did not use “jogless stripes”, which caused my hat to have stripes that slanted and created a look of a seam, even though I knitted in the round. See pic below!
3. I didn’t pull the stitches tight enough between my double pointed needles, creating two columns of looser stitches.

This is the ‘backside’ of the hat, where the stripes don’t meet up.

I now know how to make it better for the next time! Here’s my pattern adapted from the pattern at Ravelry:

Audrey’s Long Tail Tiny Baby Hat

Ingredients:
Size 7 and 8 double pointed needles
sport weight yarn in three colors. (I used brown, green, and blue- mine was baby yarn, I think it is sport weight, but I threw away the packaging.  Use worsted weight to make)

Here is the pattern; corrections are in bold.

Band:
Cast on 66 stitches on size 7 DPNs (This makes a tighter band around the head).
K1 P1 all the way around for 6 rows to create a rib. On my hat this part is brown.

Color change (stripe):
Switch to size 8 needles and k 1 round in your next color. On my hat this is green.
On the second row of your new color pick up one stitch of the previous color and slip onto your left needle. Knit the first two stitches (two colors) together. Finish K the row. This is called “jogless stripes”! Google it for more info, that’s what I did!
K another round (3 total rounds for the stripe).

You are going to repeat the color change stripe directions 3 times for a total of 9 more knitted rows. I’m putting the exact directions below (for noobs like me!). If you’re a pro skip to the decreasing.

k 1 round in your next color. On my hat this is blue.
On the second row of your new color pick up one stitch of the previous color and slip onto your left needle. Knit the first two stitches (two colors) together. Finish K the row. This is called “jogless stripes”! Google it for more info, that’s what I did!
K another round (3 total rounds for the stripe).

k 1 round in your next color. On my hat this is brown.
On the second row of your new color pick up one stitch of the previous color and slip onto your left needle. Knit the first two stitches (two colors) together. Finish K the row. This is called “jogless stripes”! Google it for more info, that’s what I did!
K another round (3 total rounds for the stripe).

k 1 round in your next color. On my hat this is green.
On the second row of your new color pick up one stitch of the previous color and slip onto your left needle. Knit the first two stitches (two colors) together. Finish K the row. This is called “jogless stripes”! Google it for more info, that’s what I did!
K another round (3 total rounds for the stripe).

Now to start the decreasing!

  1. *K9 K2together* repeat that all the way around! On my hat this starts the blue stripe.
  2. K the next row (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  3. *K8 K2together* repeat that all the way around!
  4. K the next row (should be a new color. On my hat it is brown.)
  5. *K7 K2together* repeat that all the way around! (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  6. K the next row
  7. *K6 K2together* repeat that all the way around! (On my hat this starts the green stripe).
  8. K the next row (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  9. *K5 K2together* repeat that all the way around!
  10. K (On my hat this starts the blue stripe)
  11. K (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  12. K
  13. K (On my hat this starts the brown stripe)
  14. K (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  15. K
  16. *K4 K2together* Repeat all the way around! (On my hat this starts the green stripe).
  17. K (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  18. K
  19. K (On my hat this starts the blue stripe)
  20. K (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  21. K
  22. K (On my hat this starts the brown stripe)
  23. *K3 K2together* Repeat all the way around! (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  24. K
  25. K (On my hat this starts the green stripe)
  26. K (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  27. K
  28. K (On my hat this starts the blue stripe)
  29. K (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  30. K
  31. K (On my hat this starts the brown stripe)
  32. K (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  33. K
  34. K (On my hat this starts the green stripe)
  35. K (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  36. *K2 K2together* Repeat all the way around!
  37. K (On my hat this starts the blue stripe)
  38. K (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  39. K
  40. K (On my hat this starts the brown stripe)
  41. *K1 K2together* Repeat all the way around! (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  42. K
  43. K (On my hat this starts the green stripe)
  44. K (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  45. K
  46. K (On my hat this starts the blue stripe)
  47. K (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  48. K
  49. K (On my hat this starts the brown stripe)
  50. K (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  51. K
  52. K (On my hat this starts the green stripe)
  53. K (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
  54. *K2together* Repeat this all the way around!

There should now be 3 stitches left!
Put all your stitches on one DPN. You will K this as an Icord. Repeat the three steps below to make the tail as long as you like!
K (On my hat this starts the blue stripe)
Slide the stitches to the other end of the DPN and DO NOT TURN! You will pull the yarn from the other end and it will seem weird, but it will be okay!
K (remember to do the jogless stripe thing on this row)
K

When you’ve made it as long as you want, pull the yarn through the 3 stitches to hold them and end the hat. Braid the end. I tied on several more strands and grouped the colors to make the braid thicker!

Ta Da!

If you knit one, would you put pics and tips in the comments on my blog? Thanks! You’re the best!

How to Soak Off Acrylic Nails

I have had acrylic nails for quite awhile. I really like them! They make my thin and brittle nails stronger, and my polish lasts for weeks! My wonderful nail lady told me it was time for a new set, not just a fill, because my nail keeps separating from the fake nail. Well, with all the crafting, painting, and working in my new office, I figure I’ll wait to get a new set until right before school starts. That left me with two options, let the acrylic grow out, or soak them off. I let them grow out a bit, but they started to look gross, so off they came! I read up on how to online and had two more options: nail polish remover or pure acetone. Some said not to use the pure acetone, but I’m impatient, and the regular nail polish would take longer.

Materials:
Pyrex/glass bowl
acetone
Vaseline
fingernail clippers
nail brush

Materials: pyrex bowl, vaseline, and acetone

Steps:
1. Cut down your nails as short as you can stand. The shorter they are, the easier to get off.
2. Rub Vaseline on your fingers and cuticles to prevent over drying from the acetone.
3. Soak your fingertips. The nails start to turn gummy. Check to see if you can peel them off after about 5 minutes. I used the metal file part on my clippers. Keep soaking until they all come off!

I filed the tops to get the last little bumps off, and polished them with a clear strengthening coat.

My nails after the soak off with a coat of clear. You can see my freshly painted toes, too!

Ta Da!

My New Office: Stage Two

My Dad-in-law and I went up to my office today to work. Upon arriving, I noticed some changes had been made to my office. I’d been robbed! I feel so violated! Okay, so maybe that’s a bit dramatic. My once furnished office was bear, with the exception of the desk, two filing cabinets, two chairs, and a small table and chairs. Now, that may sound like a lot, but here’s what I was missing: leather love seat (with cute damask pillows!), leather chair, cute damask photo board, all the adorable wall decor, books, stuffed animals, and a lot of resources. And here’s the worst part: my crate of cherished, hard cover children’s books and some organizational stuff was missing, too. I found a pile of it in the hallway and quickly reclaimed my organizational stuff, but my books were no where to be found. I talked to my principal (love her!), and she figured out that it was the previous counselor. After getting in contact with her, she and I are meeting tomorrow, and she is returning my books!

(UPDATE 8/9: She was so sweet! Her family had helped her move and accidentally grabbed my stuff! She had a welcome gift for me and said I could call her with questions! She moved the furniture and decor back to her house and took the stuff she bought, which is understandable!)

Dad-in-law moved my desk and made it sturdier than it was before! Then he went to work, and I got to decorating, organizing, and cleaning like a mad woman. Here is what I accomplished. You may recognize many of the items on my desk and walls from my previous How To post: https://whereismyhelmet.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/decorations-for-my-new-office/ .

Desk and chalkboard dollar store platters hanging on the wall.

This brilliant idea is courtesy of Jouleen via Allyson, my incredibly crafty friends! I didn’t include these in my previous How To post, because the pics came out crappy. The are Dollar Tree silver serving platters that I spray painted with chalkboard paint. Then I tied bows (I googled how to tie a bow and learned off of Martha Stewart’s website, because mine were deformed)and hot glued the ribbon to the back to hang them on the wall! So easy!

Dollar Tree mirrors stenciled and hung by my desk.

The chandelier painting I made. (So proud of it!)

Space to put pens, pencils, etc.

Office decor courtesy of Dollar Tree and Target’s dollar bin.

Old cork board that I spray painted black and trimmed with ribbon.

It looks much better, but still pretty sparse. My wonderful principal said I can get a couch, rug, and decor when the new budget kicks in on September 1st! Stay tuned for updated pics after that!

Honey Do Fund Part One: Sprucing Up the House with Ikea

The husband and I recently sat down and made a budget (that we actually stuck to for a month)! After all the necessities were taken out, we had some money left over to play with. We divided it up into different “funds”, and one we added was what my husband calls the “Honey Do Fund”. Each month I have $200 for working on our house to spend how I choose. Since Damon is a contractor, he will do most of the work, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t charge me for labor! After doing this stuff all day, he does not want to come home and work for free! The good news is that any money I pay him, he puts in our “Vacation Fund”.

So with my first month’s Honey Do money, I bought some different shelves and organizing things from Ikea. I bought a LACK shelf in white ($14.99), PORTIS Hat Rack in black ($19.99), and got two small AS IS shelves ($7.50).

I spray painted the two small shelves flat ‘Almond’ to put in the kitchen. The LACK shelf went in the bedroom to hold decorations (that the cat kept knocking off my bedside table). The hat rack is not for hats at all, but for lids in the kitchen! They were out of the shelf I really wanted for the kitchen when I discovered the PORTIS beauty (which I like WAY better!).

IKEA LACK wall shelf in white $19.99

IKEA PORTIS hat rack used for lids and pans

Small shelves for canisters and the green stand/holder I made!

The husband hung up all the shelves. (I said I could do it, but he said that push pins wouldn’t work, and he didn’t want our shit falling off the walls.) PORTIS and LACK were no problems! The two shelves I got on clearance were a problem. They were AS IS because they didn’t come with the hangy stuff (my technical terms). “No problem!” he said. Except, it seems, that there was not a stud to be found to anchor the top shelf, which meant a trip to Home Depot for some wall anchor screw things that pop open inside the wall, and, of course, lots of cursing. But my shelves are hung! And they look fabulous! And they won’t fall! And I am ever so pleased with myself for using a ‘hat rack’ in the kitchen! Now, there are no more lids cluttering up our pan cabinet! What a space saver!

Easy Knit Fingerless Gloves

I’m back from the dead! Well, semi-back-from-the-dead. I had high hopes of all the crafty things I would accomplish this week, but alas, my immune system had other plans. I started to feel cruddy over the weekend, and my chest was really hurting, so Monday morning I went to the doctor. At first, they thought I had pneumonia! After a breathing treatment in the office, she said it probably wasn’t pneumonia, but I got a steroid shot, powerful antibiotic, and an inhaler! I also got stuck in bed all week, because just walking downstairs to make soup wore me out. This seems like it would be a great time to do all the knitting I keep planning to do, but I wasn’t conscious very often. I did manage to finish a project that was on my knitting needles from last winter: fingerless gloves! I made mine short, but you could make them longer! They are oh-so-easy to make!

Materials:

Size 7 double pointed needles (DPN)
Yarn- I used I Love This Yarn (because it is cheap!), which is worsted weight

The glove with waste yarn for the thumb hole.

Pattern:

Cast on 36 stitches on size 7 straight needles and divide up between the size 7 DPN’s (12, 12, 12).
After knitting a few rounds, mark the start with a stitch marker.
Knit until you get the desired length from end to thumb (about 5 inches on my shorties)
On the next row, knit the first four, then knit the next 6 with waste yarn (knit more if you want a looser thumb hole!).
Continue knitting around for about three more inches.
Bind off.

Flip the glove inside out and pick up your stitches on either side of the waste yarn. I picked up a couple extra stitches on either side to make sure there weren’t gaps. Knit around twice and bind off!

Tuck in all your tails and repeat!

Around the thumb there may be small gaps in the stitches, but I used my tails to help hide these!

The finished product!

Now that I have the gloves off my size 7 needles, I can start the project I’m really looking forward to: a cute baby hat! No, it’s not for me! It’s for a friend’s photography studio; they’re using it as a prop!

Boycott

Seems like everyone has an opinion about Chick-fil-a and how they donate their money and what that means. I am not going to add my opinion to the mix. I don’t care what you think about Chick-fil-a, and I imagine you feel the same about me. I am going to share a story about my recent decision to boycott Jack in the Box.

I have been interviewing since May for school counselor positions. My dream is to stay in my district, but in an effort to open new doors and sharpen my interview skills, I have been interviewing in surrounding districts. On July 16th I had an interview in at a school in a neighboring district that was, according to Google Maps, 50 minutes away. I planned to take a toll road, George Bush, that I knew would save time. That morning I got up early, got ready, drank my coffee, grabbed my jacket, heels, resume folder, and headed out the door. I knew the first part of my journey, but not the last. But I had mapped it on my phone with turn by turn directions that morning! About 20 minutes into my drive, I dig in my ginormous yellow purse for my phone. No dice. I left it at home next to my Keurig coffee maker. I could see it in my head, just sitting there where it would do me no good. So what is a girl to do? Freak out. Just a little. I start to formulate a plan. I’ll go as far as I can remember, then pull off when I see a gas station to use the phone and call my husband to give me directions. This plan is brilliant, except that the toll road was very recently built and the exits were mostly empty right next to the highway. I was not going to get off and wander down roads away from the highway. It wouldn’t have been quite as big of a deal, but an accident somewhere down the road caused slow traffic that I wasn’t expecting. So now I was not running early or on time; I was running late and I had to pull off and get directions! I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to take the Dallas North Tollway or 35. I exited just after the Dallas North Tollway on Josey, when I saw a strip mall. Nothing would be open that early, but I saw a Jack in the Box! I went in and frantically explained that I needed to use the phone that I was on my way to a job interview without my cell phone and needed directions. The sweet employee called her manager. I again told my situation (FRANTICALLY) to the manager, who replied that it is against their policy to let people use their phone. I tried to explain that it was basically an emergency, but she said no and walked away. Strike one. I was floored! Couldn’t she see I was desperate?! So I decided to bother customers. A man, who looked to be of Indian descent and was playing on his giant Note phone, ignored me as I tried to get his attention; he had already heard my plea with the staff. Strike two. I walked to a table of two Hispanic women talking over breakfast and started to recite my speech. She let me use her phone! Score! I called my husband who Googled directions from my location, which I wrote on the back of one of my resumes. I got to the job interview FIFTEEN MINUTES LATE. I relayed my crazy morning story, and after a successful interview, got a call back interview (although I was eventually offered this job, I took one in my district).

I could not believe that in my time of need, a real emergency to me, Jack in the Box would not let me use the phone. Would it have made a difference if I’d said my car had broken down? I doubt it. So I have decided, if they couldn’t let me use their phone, I will not let them have my money. Suck on that, Jack in the Crack.

Decorations for My New Office

I am the (EXTREMELY EXCITED) new school counselor at the elementary school in my neighborhood! It is the school my kids would go to (if they weren’t furry and four legged). Besides being my passion, being a school counselor will help me get all the hours (300 per semester!) for my doc program. As soon as I found out I had a job, I started shopping for office decor. I am a HUGE fan of Target’s dollar bin and Dollar Tree. I found a bunch of cute stuff at both places for cheap, and with a few other supplies I was able to make quite a few cute creations.

Supplies: acrylic paints, artist palette, stiff bristle paint brush, stencil, and satin finish sealer.

Caption: Tray from Target ($2.50) that I stenciled a damask on using acrylic paint. I finished it with a satin finish topcoat/sealer.

Caption: Buckets from Target ($1 each) that I stenciled using acrylic paint and finished with a satin topcoat/sealer.

Tray ($2.50) and blue buckets ($1 each) from Target. I didn’t do anything to them, but I thought they were super cute, so I shared!

While not office decor, I made this for the kitchen. Tray ($2.50) and candlestick ($2.50) from Target. They came in the matching colors, so all I did was hot glue them together!

Caption: Left: a spray painted candlestick ($1) and glass bowl ($1) The vase ($1) on the Right: vase with interior spray painted. The flowers (Garden Ridge) were 75% off, so I got two bunches for 68 cents! Everything else was from Dollar Tree!

Cone of Fear

This is the short and sweet sequel to “Daunting Decoration”.

Damon decided to wear the “cone of fear”, as we have taken to calling it, on his head.  Moxie was burying herself under the pillows on my side of the bed when Damon donned the cone and started crawling towards her.  She started growling at him/it!  She never growls!

I took it back outside where a hanging planter belongs, and Moxie has just given it dirty looks.

Moxie growls at Damon as he crawls towards her wearing the Cone of Fear.