Maybe Matilda

Friday, July 18, 2014

10 Minute No-Sew Barefoot Sandals

I kind of expected that I’d go a little nuts on baby shoes when expecting a girl. Shoes are, of course, the most adorable thing that can be purchased for a baby, and this is an indisputable universal fact. But here we are, almost 9 months into this whole raising-a-daughter thing and Darcy owns 3ish pairs of shoes. Impressive, no? None of these 3 pairs, however, matched her outfit for Bekah’s wedding, and you know how cheap I am, so I figured I’d see if I could DIY something that look cute with her outfit without pinching her fat little feet or costing much.

And my gosh, they turned out darling.

Get the tutorial to make these easy no-sew Glitter Bow Baby Barefoot Sandals!

Add barefoot baby sandals to the list of things I thought were ridiculous before having a baby girl, but now think are precious (it’s an ever-growing, embarrassing list).

I already owned the elastic I needed to make these shoes and only needed to buy a little bit of ribbon for the bows, so I’m not sure what the price would be if you were starting from scratch--I’m going to guess in the $2-5 range. Much less expensive than a pair of store bought shoes, totally comfortable for baby, and easy to customize to go along with whatever outfit you’re trying to match. And not turning on the sewing machine is always a plus in my book.

Get the tutorial to make these easy no-sew Glitter Bow Baby Barefoot Sandals!

To make these sweet little sandals, you’ll need:
- a small amount of fold-over elastic (I used about 16 inches total). My elastic was leftover from making a batch of baby headbands, and was purchased from Elastic By The Yard on Etsy. I suppose you could use regular elastic for these if that’s what you already own, but fold-over elastic is slim and a bit shiny, so it looks really nice for a project like this, plus it’s smooth and soft, so I bet it’s more comfortable for little feet.
- a small amount of glitter ribbon (or, you know, whatever ribbon you want). I got this gold glitter ribbon at Walmart, and bought 1/2 yard. I still have quite a bit left over.
- hot glue gun

Step 1: Cut a length of ribbon that can wrap comfortably around baby’s ankle and the bottom of her foot. For Darcy (currently almost 9 months), this was about 7-8 inches. Lay it out in a Z shape.

DIY no-sew barefoot baby sandals tutorial

Step 2: Bring the top end of the Z down and hot glue it to the middle of the center piece.

DIY no-sew barefoot baby sandals tutorial

Step 3: Bring the bottom end of the Z up and hot glue it over the top piece. Look, it’s an 8. Nifty.

DIY no-sew barefoot baby sandals tutorial

Step 4: Bow time! Hot glue a small piece of ribbon—about 3-4 inches—in a loop.

DIY no-sew barefoot baby sandals tutorial

Step 5: Cut a 2- or 3-inch length of ribbon in half lengthwise.

DIY no-sew barefoot baby sandals tutorial

Step 6: Pinch the loop into a bow shape and glue a small length of one of these strips around the center. Cut the second strip into 2 pieces and trim the ends into points.

DIY no-sew barefoot baby sandals tutorial

Step 7: Glue these two pointed strips to the bottom of the bow, then hot glue the bow onto the elastic.

DIY no-sew barefoot baby sandals tutorial

Ta-da! Quick and painless. Slip the upper loop around baby’s ankle, and the lower loop right underneath her foot. Baby girl be stylin’ and fancy.

DIY no-sew barefoot baby sandals tutorial

read more "10 Minute No-Sew Barefoot Sandals"

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pina Colada Oat Bars

Well, my coconut obsession continues, and to be frank, this coconut love affair is something I feel no need to stifle. Put coconut in all the things!!! Coconut Pecan Cake. Coconut Lime White Chocolate Scones. Coconut Chicken Strips. I’m just going to keep on going, adding coconut to anything and everything I please. Do not send help. Life is better with coconut.

Pina Colada Oat Bars //

A friend of mine had twins just a few weeks ago (twins!!!! I seriously can’t even imagine, and when I asked her, all sympathy and a cocked head and puppy dog eyes, is nighttime really rough with two babies? she replied, nah, they’re both thiiiis close to sleeping through the night—um, it takes my one at a time babies like a million years to reach this milestone, thank you very much).

I only remembered 2 hours in advance that I had promised to bring her a dinner recently. So I scraped together what was hopefully not the worst dinner of their lives (but, to be honest, it actually might have been), and felt kind of guilty about not planning better and bringing a really nice twin-worthy dinner (if you have grown and birthed two humans at the same time, I’m pretty certain you deserve filet mignon and shrimp and something else that is fancy to complete this list, because I’m coming up empty) . . . until these bars came out of the oven. Of course one had to be sampled—believe me, this was a purely selfless, kindhearted, charitable sample taste, not for my own benefit but simply to ensure that these friends received the sort of dessert that the parents of twins surely deserve—and they were so incredibly delicious that I had to make a second pan of them for us to keep.

Pina Colada Oat Bars //

Rich, buttery, crisp oat cookie bars (with an amazing salty bite to them) filled with soft and sweet pineapple-coconut filling. I may have delivered the world’s crappiest “congrats on the new babies” dinner, but I think I redeemed myself with the dessert.

Pina Colada Oat Bars
slightly adapted from

For pineapple filling:
1 cup canned pineapple, with juice
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup white sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup water

Pulse pineapple in food processor or blender along with coconut extract. If you’d like, you can blend it until it’s smooth; I just pulsed it a few times so it was still somewhat chunky, and I liked getting some pineapple bits when eating the bars. Place all filling ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until thickened, and set aside to cool while you prepare the oat mixture.

For the oat bars:
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and grease a 9 x 13” pan. Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix. Stir in the oats. Divide the dough in half; sprinkle half in the prepared pan and use your hands to flatten and press it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Spread with the cooled pineapple filling, and top with the remaining oat mixture, patting it lightly into place over the filling. Bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes or until the top oat layer is golden brown. Cut into bars and enjoy.

read more "Pina Colada Oat Bars"

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I am good (enough)

I’ve spent a pretty decent portion of the time I’ve been a mother feeling like I’m a crappy mom. Not the negligent, abusive kind, but not a particularly good one, either. I think it boils down to comparison. I look at other moms who seem happier than me, or more involved with their kids than I am, or more fun or motivated or confident or whatever other qualities I decided make a mom good and I inevitably come up short. And naturally, since there is only one precise way to be a fantastic mother (*snort*), if I don’t fit that mold, I must stink. Fluff and nonsense, of course, but it’s a learning process.

I’m learning to come to terms with the sort of mom I am and the sort of mom I am not, and working to pinpoint the specific things I am good at. Instead of beating myself up and feeling guilty about not being the sort of mom I wish I was, how about focusing on the sort of mom I actually am and appreciating that instead? If I try and focus more on my good qualities, I actually feel like I’m doing a good enough job over here. (Because really, these kids are fed and loved and taken care of, and isn’t that enough? I hope so, at least.)

I am not good at playing with my children and entertaining them for hours, but I am good at allowing them to be independent and giving them the space and time to discover their own interests and imaginations. I think those are valuable skills in a world where we seem to expect to be constantly entertained. They’re both pretty good at keeping themselves occupied, and I think that’s an important thing to know how to do.

I am not good at setting up playdates and fostering friendships, but I am good at building family relationships. I’m a hardcore introvert and it’s a struggle for me to get together with people very often, but the whole reason we moved to Utah was to be near my family, and I make sure my kids see plenty of their aunts and uncles and grandparents and cousins.

I am not good at raising an adventurous eater (Forrest’s pickiness is a discouraging testament to this), but I am good at giving him options. 9 times out of 10, he refuses to try the foods I offer him, but since I love to cook and try new recipes and explore different flavors, he has no shortage of opportunities to taste new things and enjoy a great variety of foods when he is ready.

I am not good at carrying out at-home educational activities, but I am good at letting my kids be kids. I am exhausted by even the thought of teaching my 3-year old to read, or doing little preschool lessons with him, but he gets plenty of time to run, to play, to be silly, to imagine. I think that’s what’s most important for him right now.

I am not good at making my children the absolute, sole focus of my entire world, but I am good at making time for myself to recharge. One thing that made me nervous about becoming a parent was the possibility of losing myself in the process. I looked at other moms who seemed so overwhelmed, so completely wrapped up in their kids’ lives, so entirely focused on their children that they sort of seemed to disappear. A few years ago, I was chatting with a mother of five, and I asked her what her hobbies were. She thought for a minute, and finally said, “I don’t remember.” I’m not saying she, or any moms like her, are doing anything wrong in putting their kids first—I’m sure they are wonderful, attentive, involved mothers—but the thought of losing myself, my time, my hobbies, scared me. I’m good at having my own life, apart from my kids—making time for my interests and talents and the things that make me feel like me.

I am not good at being patient, but I am good at making sure my children know they are loved. I get irritated and upset at Forrest often—sooooooo often—and hearing him tell me that I need to apologize for shouting at him is a consistent reminder that I need to take a deep breath and work on developing some patience. But at the end of the day, these two stinkers know that they are loved, and hopefully that is enough. Forrest always asks to snuggle while he watches TV, he hears the words “I love you” multiple times a day, and he gets tucked into bed at night with a hug and a kiss and a prayer. No matter what else I fail at, this seems like the most important success.

What are you good at?

read more "I am good (enough)"

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summertime Survival

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hot Shot® Insecticides.

It’s not that I don’t like summer. All winter long, I whine about the cold and dream of all the fun summertime things I can’t wait to do. But once it actually arrives, I sit around all hot and sweaty and uncomfortable and start dreaming of fall and pumpkin muffins and hot chocolate and cozy sweaters (environmentalists, please close your eyes and do not read the following statement where I confess to sometimes cranking up the AC at home on hot days so I can wear slippers and cardigans and sip hot chocolate, because I’d hate for you to be upset at me). As far as seasons go, summer is #3 out of 4 in my lineup. I’ve made an effort this year, though, to try and make summer a little more fun for everyone. Because, as you know, I am the Queen of Fun as well as the World’s Coolest Mom (an impressive double title, I know, and I always aim to impress you here). Here are a few simple, low-budget things we’re doing to make our summer enjoyable:

Plan at-home activities. I’m a major homebody, and it’s really easy for me to just turn on movies for Forrest while I read or crochet, and the next thing I know, it’s time to put him in bed for the night and he’s literally spent his whole day in front of the TV. I’m certainly not some amazing at-home educator planning daily activities for Forrest, but I’ve tried to come up with a handful of things that can keep him happy and busy and limit the amount of time he spends parked on his caboose in front of the TV.

Summertime Survival . . . a few ideas to make summer at home with little kids easier and happier for everyone.

They don’t have to be big activities that take a ton of preparation or time or money. In fact, I’m the happiest when they take very little preparation, time, and money. A few days ago, when he was pestering me relentlessly about watching TV, we went into the kitchen and made a batch of salt dough together for him to play with.

Summertime Survival . . . a few ideas to make summer at home with little kids easier and happier for everyone

It took 5 minutes (if that) to make, used ingredients we already had, and kept him entertained for hours. Planning little at-home activities like this have helped keep us both happier, since they give him something fun and creative to do, and they don’t cost me much money or energy. Not to mention playing with salt dough is pretty dang fun. Can’t say I’ve gotten my hands messy with salt dough in, oh, probably 20 years. It’s about time I gave it a go again.

Get outside. A no-brainer for those of you who are not boring homebody couch potatoes, but for boring homebody couch potatoes like me, it’s incredibly easy to look back on my week and realize I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve left the house in the week, with fingers to spare. I think we’re all a little happier when we get out, whether we’re heading to the library to pick up some books for the week, or running errands, or even just going out in the backyard to play. A $20 inflatable pool from Walmart has more than paid for itself with hours upon hours upon hours upon hoursuponhoursuponhoursetc of outdoor play for these two. That was $20 well spent. Well spent, indeed.

Tracking Pixel

Summertime Survival . . . a few ideas to make summer at home with little kids easier and happier for everyone

Exercise. I’m far from any sort of athlete (I like to blame my mom for this, since she never forced me to participate in any sort of sports as an impressionable young child, and she likes to remind me that she tried countless times to sign me up for sports teams and camps and I wholeheartedly refused to participate), but we’ve been having a lot of fun heading outside for walks and jogs and bike rides as a family (to be clear: Jeff is the only one who jogs. If he insists on a jog, I ride a bike alongside him. A runner I am not, and never shall be.).

summertime survival tips

I can’t say I love exercising, in general, but it’s a lot easier to talk yourself into a workout when you’re doing it as a family and it feels less like work and more like you’re just playing around outside together. Jeff just restored the above bike for me for my birthday (he’s pretty cool), and we’ve had so much fun getting out and riding together. And since we just bought a used bike trailer from a friend for the kids to ride in, I’m really excited to take them on some little rides to the library and the playground.

Kill dem bugs. Forrest and I are both stricken with an irrational fear of bugs. It’s a little over the top. Example: we were playing outside the other day and I spotted him standing completely still, frozen in a sort of weird position with a look of absolute horror on his face. As I tried to figure out what he was doing, he let out the most bloodcurdling horror movie scream I’ve ever heard, and started sobbing and begging for me to help him, all without moving a muscle. All because . . . there was a spider on his leg. Not even a particularly big or gross or scary one. Just your run-of-the-mill, average little spider. He then needed 30 minutes of snuggling while watching a movie to recover from his traumatic experience. And I can’t even blame him for his horror movie scream, as I probably would have done the same were I in his shoes. Hearts of steel in this family, I tell you. So trying to keep the bugs to a minimum is definitely a necessity around here.

Summertime survival tips

I’ve been using Hot Shot® Insecticides this summer, and it has definitely helped keep things more comfortable this summer. Fewer icky creepy crawlies in my home or in the spots we like to play outside definitely makes us a happier group. Because we are wimpy and we want our bugs the way God intended them: dead and deader.

Who’s the bug-destroying hero in your house? Enter the Hot Shot® Insecticides sweepstakes on their facebook page this month!

What do you do to make your summer more fun?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hot Shot® Insecticides.

read more "Summertime Survival"

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bekah’s Country Glam Wedding

Well well well, what have we here? At long last—over a month past her wedding—I’m finally posting the pictures from my little sister Bekah’s big day. Allowing so much time to pass before posting this was just meant to keep you waiting, build suspense, get that breath niiiiice and bated. Certainly had nothing to do with procrastinating, or sifting through and editing hundreds and hundreds of pictures, and definitely nothing at all to do with dreading revisiting memories of my children in top demonic form that day.

You may notice a marked lack of Darcy and Jeff in the following pictures. Weeeeeell. That would be because Darcy picked a particularly nice day to get all sorts of barfy on us. It was pretty dang hot the day of the wedding, and after spending over an hour in 90+ degree heat, I’m sure you can imagine the sort of mood she was in. Even sitting in the shade, she was dripping sweat and absolutely miserable. After the ceremony, I took her back to the car to nurse her (there wasn’t really any other option of a quiet, private spot to do it), where I realized A) I had not chosen a very nursing-friendly dress and basically had to strip down to the waist to feed the poor thing, B) I didn’t know that you have to press the clutch while turning the keys in my husband’s car to get it running and the air conditioning going, and C) as if it wasn’t hot enough in that boiling oven of a car that I couldn’t turn on, I (stupidly?) put a nursing cover on so as not to scandalize innocent passersby. So there we are, Darcy and I, sitting in a car with no air conditioning (temperature roughly equal to the surface of the sun), stripped to the waist with a blanket draped over us to try and hide the goodies from people on the street, dripping sweat all over each other, while I frantically wonder what I’m missing outside.

Darcy finally finished up but was still really grouchy and whiny. I figured she was just tired and overheated. I re-dressed in the car and scurried back over to where the family photos were being taken, and as soon as the photographer got us all arranged for the pictures, Darcy absolutely lost her mind. Screaming and flailing and bellowing at the top of her lungs, through every picture. Every. Single. Picture. Then Forrest figured, why not, let’s make this a family affair, and subsequently lost his mind, too. Every photo, people: both of my children screaming with all their hearts and souls (luckily, there was enough of a crowd that I don’t think we managed to singlehandedly ruin the pictures, but it was not exactly a fun photo experience).

As the photographer rearranged people for some smaller group shots, I tried to calm Darcy down and not 5 minutes later, she vomited—all over the sidewalk, the temple gardens, and some little splishy-splashes on both our wedding outfits, of course. So for the next hour, Jeff drove her in circles around the block (I guess the air conditioning wouldn’t get cool enough if they were parked, and we were still thinking maybe she was just too hot) and I repeatedly chased Forrest down and dragged him into additional photos where he pouted and grumped and generally refused to smile.

If you want to know the most effective way to ruin a wedding, I think we’ve proven that the answer is to invite us.

Rebekah Alan Wed071

Anyway. Once we got Darcy laid down for a nap and changed out of our pukey clothes, things started looking a little better (although she did manage to throw up 3 more times that day and spend a bulk of the day/evening/night screaming her little heart out, and since a handful of other people ended up sick within the next couple days, I guess it wasn’t just a case of being out in the heat for too long). We had a few hours between the wedding and the reception (which was at my parents’ cabin at Bear Lake, a gorgeous little lakeside town up on the border between Utah and Idaho) and spent some time getting things set up there. My family has been visiting Bear Lake for years, and Bekah has always said that she wanted to have her wedding there, right at the family cabin. So I guess, in a way, this reception was years in the making.

Rebekah Alan Wed031

Here’s the happy couple with all the nieces and nephews on our side of the family (minus Darcy, obviously, who was busy recuperating in the car from her little barf-fest).

Rebekah Alan Wed085

And all of my siblings together:

Rebekah Alan Wed155

Rebekah Alan Wed217

Rebekah Alan Wed225

You might remember from my post about her bridal shower that Bekah’s style is girly and frilly and sparkly, but definitely tempered with easy-going, homey rustic touches. So I’ve dubbed this “country glam.” I don’t know if this is a real thing. Just go with it. (All the previous photos have been the professional ones taken by Aria Photography . . . from here on, they’re mine.)

A colorful country glam wedding reception.

Almost everything at the reception was either DIYed by my mom and sister/sisters-in-law, or pulled together from things people already owned. The star garlands were made by using a star paper punch on silver and gold glittery scrapbook paper, then just stitching them all together on a sewing machine. Everybody pitched in some of their own Christmas lights, and the tissue pom poms were reused from the bridal shower. We set up most of the food and tables on the front porch of my parents’ cabin.A colorful country glam wedding reception.

After a dinner of roast turkey breast, mashed potatoes, green beans, and rolls, we set out a dessert buffet on this table with fresh fruit and a bunch of Bekah’s favorite bars that I made the week before the wedding—peanut butter bars, brownies, lemon bars, and 7-layer bars. Simple and tasty desserts that were easy enough to make ahead of time and freeze. (Bekah didn’t want a cake.) We also served homemade lemonade (I wonder if my poor mama’s hands have recovered yet from squeezing 4 billion lemons?). And some of the gold dot favor boxes from the bridal shower also made an appearance! They are seriously the cutest.

Colorful country glam wedding reception

Colorful country glam wedding

For centerpieces on the tables, we used log slices (from a log my mom picked up off the side of the road—what I would have given to watch her struggle to lift a 100-pound log into the back of her car all by herself) topped with jars (collected from all of our pantries) that we glittered up, along with bridal photos and a few flowers. Simple and rustic and beautiful.

Simple, country centerpieces for wedding reception.

One of the traditions we have when staying at my parents’ cabin is making s’mores over the fire pit—no trip is complete without them. So of course s’mores had to be a part of the reception, too. I thought this was one of the cutest parts of the reception—my mom brought up this hutch she already owned and set it up as a s’mores buffet bar next to the fire pit. Such a fun idea, and it looked so adorable. The ‘baskets’ are actually trash cans from the dollar store, and she used little hooks to attach them to the hutch, then just filled them up with s’mores ingredients. We reused the chalkboard easels from the bridal shower to label items and give a few instructions.

Country glam wedding reception with an outdoor s'mores bar and fire pit!

A country glam outdoor wedding reception with an outdoor s'mores bar and fire pit! So fun.

A country glam outdoor wedding reception with an outdoor s'mores bar and fire pit! So fun

The kids loved making s’mores, and the fire pit looked so cute dressed up with the paper lanterns from the shower, too.

Colorful country glam bridal shower.

Country glam bridal shower with a fire pit and 'smores bar!

Country glam bridal shower with a fire pit and 'smores bar

^ My mama and nephew, Porter. All fingers and toes are crossed that I look like her when I grow up.

Country glam bridal shower with a fire pit and 'smores bar

^ and my beautiful little niece, Abby. My mom sewed coordinating dresses for all the nieces at the wedding—so much work, but they came out beautifully.

I didn’t get half the pictures I wish I would have taken (a puking child sort of messed with my plans), but did manage just a few with the bride in them. She looked so stunning. So, so beautiful. Forrest still seems convinced that Bekah and Alan are siblings, but was very excited to see “Queen Bekah” in her “fancy queen dress!” I love this picture of the two of them together. I would also like to give my own horn a little toot here by saying that I did her hair for her wedding day. I am miles away from being any sort of experienced/talented at styling hair, but I thought it came out quite nicely anyway.

Her bouquet weighed about 80 pounds, so she tossed a few individual flowers down. I love the hand reaching up—ha!

Are you tired of pictures yet? Just in case you aren’t, I’ll pepper you with a few more. We’re back to the professional shots now:

Rebekah Alan Wed241

Rebekah Alan Wed307

All right, that’s probably enough. Congratulations to my beautiful little Bekah, her dashing husband Alan, and to you for making it through this. Now go have a nice big slice of cake or something and have a good weekend.

Rebekah Alan Wed331

read more "Bekah’s Country Glam Wedding"

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Whole Wheat Banana Bread Waffles

Tell me I'm not the only one who waffles between making a good effort at eating nutritiously and binging on Red Vines and Diet Coke? (see what I did there? waffles? *pats self on back for making cringe-worthy pun*). I'm perpetually working on finding that sweet spot of enjoying foods that taste delicious that I'll have fun making and we'll all love eating, that are still reasonably healthy. Especially challenging is Forrest, who--and this will come as a total surprise to you because I have never ever mentioned this before--is a wee bit difficult and picky (shock! awe!), and puts up an impressive little fight when faced with the prospect of anything that might contain, say, a vitamin or mineral. So giving some of his favorite foods--like pancakes and waffles--a healthy boost is an ongoing project for me.

Today, the humble waffle takes on some delicious new flavors and gets a boost in a healthier direction with the addition of fruit, nuts, and whole wheat flour. Just as delicious as ever--maybe even more so, thanks to moist, flavorful bananas and perfectly crunchy walnuts--but healthier than ever before.

I served my waffles with Silk Almond Protein + Fiber, and I'll tell you, it made for a delicious and healthy meal high in (obviously) protein and fiber, plus plenty of calcium (I'm convinced I'll have osteoporosis by age 30--I'm not sure I ever get enough calcium in a day). Such a yummy and healthy and filling breakfast.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread Waffles
adapted from Mother Thyme

2 overripe bananas, mashed
1 cup 1% milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups white wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
chopped walnuts
sliced banana

Preheat waffle iron. Combine bananas, milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and oil, and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened.

Scoop a generous 1/3 cup of batter onto greased waffle iron and cook through. Top with banana slices, chopped walnuts, and maple syrup.

makes about 6 waffles

These are so delicious and satisfying that I'm not sure I would have believed they were healthy if I hadn't made them myself. That's always a good thing. And we loved eating them with a big glass of Silk--they made a great pair. If you want to try out new Silk Almond Protein + Fiber or Silk Almond Coconut Blend, head over to the Silk facebook page to grab yourself a coupon!

Enjoy your Whole Wheat Banana Bread Waffles, and if you have any tips for me on how to convince a picky little eater that vegetables are not, in fact, the devil incarnate, I am all ears.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

read more "Whole Wheat Banana Bread Waffles"

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Belated Granny Blanket

Props, props, and more props to those of you out there who can manage to plan out a DIY gift, start working on the gift, finish working on that gift, and actually give that gift right on time for the occasion for which the gift is being given. (<—that sentence there? Me and my keyboard don’t totally understand that concept of ‘succinct.’)

My sister Bekah got married at the start of June and since she weighs roughly 42 pounds and suffers from Perpetually Cold Skinny Person Syndrome (PCSPS, if you will), I thought maybe a cozy handmade blanket would make a nice wedding gift for her (it is the only known cure for PCSPS). She and her now-husband will be furnishing and decorating their first apartment together, so I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone and keep the poor skinny thing warm plus give her a throw blanket to decorate the new place with. And I even started nice and early, over a month in advance of the wedding. Then the big day came, the big day went, and almost exactly one month after the hubbub has died down, I finally finished their blanket. Better late than never or something like that.

Blue, pink, and green granny square blanket //

You know what I think the problem is? It’s all those dang ends. I actually had the blanket itself finished almost in time for the wedding (almost is pretty okay, right? not awesome, but pretty okay), but dragged my feet when it came to sewing the ends in for weeks and weeks. I hate, despise, abhor, loathe weaving yarn ends in. The worst worst worst worst WORST part of any crochet project. I need to train Forrest to do it for me. I could pay him in Cheetos and Netflix. This could work. It’s high time he start earning his keep around here, and weaving in my yarn tails sounds like the ideal way to do it.

Blue, pink, and green granny square blanket //

In a slight departure from the typical granny square afghan, I alternated colorful squares with plain white squares. I love that it adds a bit of a brighter, fresher feel to the blanket. And I really like how the thick granny stripe border turned out. I actually had planned on making that border about 3 times wider than it is, but I ran out of the green yarn and couldn’t get my hands on more at any of my local stores. So instead of continuing without it (or waiting for it to arrive by mail), I just finished it off. Maybe I’ll ask for the blanket back and tack on a few more rows of border in time for their 1st anniversary (that’s too optimistic, considering my sluggish turnaround time on this blanket . . . 4th anniversary it is!).

Blue, pink, and green granny square blanket //

And I can already feel it coming . . . someone will ask for the pattern for these squares. And I am so, so sorry about this, but since it’s been so long since I started the blanket, I have no idea where I found the square pattern anymore. I’ve combed through my Pinterest boards and Ravelry favorites and can’t find it, and my googling has gotten me nowhere. I apologize. If anyone recognizes this particular square and knows where I can find the pattern, let me know and I’ll post it here! {Update: woohoo, a reader found it! This pattern appears to be identical to the one I used. Find it HERE. Thank you for the help, Megan!}

Blue, pink, and green granny square blanket //

I used Vanna’s Choice for this blanket in White, Aqua, and Sapphire, and Vanna’s Choice Baby in Sweet Pea and Pink Poodle. Vanna’s Choice is consistently among my favorite yarns for just about every project. Wonderful color choices, affordable, soft (but not so overly soft/slippery that it won’t hold a shape), and it wears very nicely over time. (They are not paying me to say any of this, by the way. I just love my Vanna and would wholeheartedly recommend it.)

Feels good to finally get that blanket off my couch and into the newlyweds’ possession. And I’ve learned my lesson—next time I plan to start a project that produces zillions of dreaded ends to sew in, I’ll give myself a generous 4+ month window.

read more "A Belated Granny Blanket"