Saturday, December 28, 2013

crochet ariel and rapunzel dolls

as i mentioned before, these dolls were made upon request for our four year-old twin nieces, valentina and maria. maria adored her ariel and pushed her around so nicely in a baby doll stroller. valentina on the other hand swung rapunzel around and around by her braid, as hours and hours of work unraveled before my eyes. nooo!!!

of course i'm not mad, but leonardo was also returned with broken swords, so now i'm faced with the challenge of making these dolls sturdy enough to withstand standard american children lol.

at christmas time i always think of laura ingalls wilder and her little doll, her lone christmas present, that she loved and cherished like a real baby. it seems children today just get so much that they don't have the energy to care for it all.

anyway, i guess i can see the fun in swinging her by her braid. valentina is very active and probably just wanted to test out rapunzel's swinging capabilities.=) i'm glad i sewed the hair tight enough so that her body didn't fly off, but the braid is undone and the flowers are a mess. i'm thinking i'll make her a new doll with hair like ariel's, and maybe even take a stab at writing a pattern while i'm at it.

the bodies were made with this wonderful doll pattern. the hair was inspired by this ariel, and this pattern (among some others i can't find) helped me figure out a way to do rapunzel's hair.

thank you for the encouraging comments and suggestions on these dolls' progress - i couldn't have done it without you!=)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

crochet jack skellington santa

after some late night stitching marathons, the dolls are finally finished. one of jack's legs is longer than the other and making the hands had me on the verge of a breakdown, but i'm happy with the way he turned out. the fuzzy elements and stitched mouth are my favorites.
wishing you and yours a wonderful day filled with laughter, love and joy.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

crochet guinea pigs

oreo, cream puff, freckles, cappucino and snowflake

i had a little too much fun naming these baby guinea pigs and wish i could have made more. snowflake was made during a snowstorm and cream puff was made for a little boy with sweet cheeks. i had ideas for a yellow one named sunny and even started one i was calling peaches.

ariel is also finished and jack and rapunzel are almost there. my poor arm is screaming no more! with each stitch i make, but i don't have too much left to do. can you believe i hot glued rapunzel's arm on the wrong way?! she was so close to being finished and now i have to make her a whole new arm. grrr. that's what i get for trying to take the easy route i guess. (serious amigurumi-ists use stitches only.)

the weather is crazy warm this weekend and my pansies that were just covered in snow are standing up like it's spring! amazing. ok, enough procrastinating.

enjoy your day!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

millet vegetable sushi

a few weeks ago i made vegetable sushi rolls with millet instead of our usual quinoa. i like millet but thought it was just ok in sushi. john said it was dry and meh. at least he's honest.

if you'd like to learn how to make vegetable sushi, chef jared shows you how here. if you already make sushi, i'd love to know what you put in your rolls!

as for the millet, i bought it years ago when i was first trying to eat gluten-free. it kept well in the fridge and it's cheaper than quinoa, though john definitely prefers quinoa. but i haven't made quinoa since i learned of its high oxalate content in relation to my interstitial cystitis symptoms. sorry johnny. he likes spinach too but i don't make anything with that eat anymore either. he'll be ok.

it's crazy that things i thought were super healthy for me (in particular quinoa, spinach, and kiwi) may have actually been causing me pain. it's made me see how important it is to be fluid. sometimes the knee-jerk reaction to new information is to reject it because we don't want to change our beliefs after all these years, or just because the truth sounds downright absurd.

i remember coming across and instantly dismissing negative spinach reports on health food sites. in my mind, spinach was one of the best things you could eat! (why did i think that? popeye?)

i'm not trying to deter anyone from spinach or quinoa. i'm just reflecting on and sharing my experience. if i weren't so awkward, i'd be able to make a really sweet analogy here to life and how when we remain open to new information and are willing to challenge and shed false beliefs, we can then shine new light on problem areas and maybe even learn what we need to move forward.

years ago i would have thought it crazy to make a medicinal tea from a weed that grows in the yard. now i can't imagine my life without plantain. it's wild, literally.

since i last posted about all that, i have been feeling really good. i've even eaten some spinach in a pesto, so it's probably ok for me in moderation. there have been no flare-ups, only minor discomfort a couple of times, which the plantain tea helped instantly. last year my flare-up occurred after the holidays, so i need to be mindful this season not to over-do it with the indulgent foods.

so how are you? how has your weekend been? we had another snow day and i helped my neighbor and his kids build a snowman on our lawn (helped as in brought out buttons and a carrot and patted it a few times saying looks great guys!) the older i get, the bigger the baby i am in the cold. i said i had to go in because i was feeling the early signs of frostbite in my fingertips, to which the five year-old girl replied, you should really get some insulated mittens kelli! ha! noted, little lady.=)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

cell phone snapshots

1 / oreo, one of the baby guinea pigs i'm making.
2 / kati, dreaming sweet kitty dreams.
3 / one of the few decorations i haven't given away - a snowman plug-in from my mom.
4 / fancy snow day snack: carrots and guacamole (also served with mary's gone crackers).

some people take fantastic pictures with their cell phones. i'm not one of them, but i wanted to show you some things that made me happy this week. i hope you're having a wonderful december. hard to believe it's not even technically winter yet! it's freezing!

Monday, December 9, 2013

crochet rapunzel progress

these photos aren't the best, but i wanted to show you where i was with the princess dolls. following the suggestion of a commenter (peggi), i tried felt lips for the girls and i think i like them. now the dolls just need to be sewn together, and rapunzel needs some more flowers in her hair.

ariel's skin tone is still a little darker than rapunzel's. i contemplated redoing the head, neck and hands but after redoing rapunzel's because her skin color was too light, i said ariel's tan will do. besides, ariel spends more time in the sun by the sea, being a former mermaid and all.=)

we got a new (used) car

last week was stressful, spent looking for a used car to replace my beloved altima that i'd had for almost 14 years. she was reaching the end, then someone hit her and the cost of fixing her up was more than she was worth. anyone who's looked for a cheaper used car knows it can get ugly. one car that seemed clean in photos smelled like dogs had lived and bathed in it. one salesman told us all the black tape under the hood was done by the factory and the rattling was just a fan. right!

but in the end it worked out, mostly. we got a really great deal on a (nice-smelling) older car with insanely low miles (not even 57,000 on a 2000), but we just learned that the trunk leaks and the engine needs a valve replaced. not a big deal, but still something that needs to be done and will cost a little bit. our friend still called our new accord a craigslist gem. i guess when you spend hours upon hours searching, you're bound to find something decent.

i can be a very sentimental person and have only owned two cars. the first one was given to me by my grandmother when i was in high school, a 1984 plymouth horizon she lovingly called hazel. she'd tap on the dash when hazel would sputter and sweetly say come on hazel, you can do it! i can remember my grandmom getting me to and from kindergarten in hazel. she had a butterfly air freshener that i still have to this day. i wonder if i was pretending to be granny in that picture.

so as i stood at the window and watched them take the altima away (i'm sorry i never got a good picture of her, the one above is hazel dressed up for my high school graduation), i couldn't help but tear up. i'm generally not a car person, but that altima was so good to me. she got me to toronto and back with no problems at all. she was paid off years ago, so i had no car payment to worry about. my mom put the money down and helped me get her financed, and i welled up with emotion over that too. my mom and grandmom always took such good care of me. i am one lucky girl.

so back to the car search. it was most stressful because we were under a deadline. since the accident was the other driver's fault, her insurance gave us a rental for a little over a week. they wanted us to pay for extra insurance which we declined, so i was a nervous wreck everyday just driving the thing. john's birthday came and went. we actually spent his birthday driving around looking at clunkers in the cold. aunt flo of course decided to show up early and i found myself blubbering like a baby over everything. some people may have dubbed it the week from hell.

however, one night things were put into perspective for me. it was right after we dealt with the sleazeball salesman who tried to tell us the factory put the black tape all over the engine and we were calling to confirm an appointment to look at a private seller's car. the owner told us her teenage son just went out with the car and she didn't know when he'd be back. ok. we had one full day left to get a car before the rental had to go back and we'd both be left car-less (did i mention john's van needed a new transmission, so we sold it with the altima?)

we went to a local diner for dinner and to get "back to the drawing board" as john kept saying. we really were trying to stay positive. then i complained to our server that we weren't having any luck finding a car. she sympathized with us and said she can't even afford a car and has to take a bus. that was the moment i realized what a spoiled ass i was being. here is a single mother, most likely struggling to pay the bills and afford christmas, who takes a bus just to get to her low-paying job, and i'm complaining that we haven't found the right car yet. boo hoo kelli. get a grip.

be grateful you have the money to get a car. be grateful you have john looking with you. be grateful you have the rental to get you around now. when i approached it all with a different attitude, i saw that it wasn't such a bad experience after all. we met some really nice people during the week. the guy who bought our cars was a former addict who cleaned himself up after literally crying out for and receiving spiritual help. his story had me crying (again). the boys who sold us the car were so sweet, they followed john home to make sure he didn't get any flack for not having tags. when john was stuck without a ride, our friend kathy came to the rescue on more than one occasion.

but let's hope we don't have to go through that again for a long long time.

Saturday, November 30, 2013


the sun sets earlier and earlier each day, giving me an excuse to light all the candles. i've been enjoying the peace and quiet of our warm, cozy home, crocheting, reading harry potter, and searching for more things to crochet.

the rapunzel doll is coming along, though her hair is tripping me up a bit. her head needs to be redone because i chose a cream colored yarn that was way too light. i'm also making a jack skellington doll in a santa outfit for one of the boys. jack's been fun to work on with his long skinny limbs, though i keep losing my count with the rounds, and crocheting with eyelash yarn is just crazy. i couldn't see any of the chains and my hook kept getting stuck, but i love the fuzzy texture.

kati likes to watch me crochet and goes after the yarn every once in a while. she snatched jack right out of my hands and went at him with her hind legs, scratching away like a maniac! good thing she didn't leave any pulls.

this week i crocheted john the beanie he said he's always wanted.=) i also started working on a snowflake garland, though i need a thinner thread. now i'm on the hunt for the perfect baby hat pattern for a 9 month old girl. something like this, with shells and a scalloped edge. i'm going to check the library and barnes and noble for pattern books. 

i hope you have a lovely, snuggly weekend! xoxoxo

Saturday, November 23, 2013

ariel doll progress

leonardo was such a hit that john's sister requested an ariel and rapunzel doll for her twin girls maria and valentina, who are turning four in december. i couldn't find the right patterns, so i'm trying to make my own ariel with this free spirit doll pattern. (this doll was my inspiration.)

it was fun dreaming up and crocheting these dolls, but now i feel stuck with ariel's skirt and embroidered lips and nose. i tried doing the lips and they were a mess. sewing is not my forte, so i'm going to leave this one for a bit and start crocheting rapunzel. i also have other amigurumis to finish before christmas, so it may be quiet around here for a while.

i'm not a fan of the disney princess craze, so after ariel and rapunzel are finished, i'm going to make dolls to look like my nieces and little lady friends. i'm tempted to leave ariel as she is (with a finished face and right arm of course) and say it's ariel in her everyday wear. sounds good to me!=)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

crochet ninja turtle

cowabunga, dudes! the crochet ninja turtle is finally complete. the pattern was for michelangelo, so to make him leonardo, john's nephew's favorite, all i had to do was change the color of the bandana and make swords instead of nunchucks.

for the swords, i cut a pipe cleaner in half, wrapped the pieces in aluminum foil and then gray and brown yarn. for the handle, i made a ring of about 10 chains and slipped it on.

the most difficult part of this project was actually the mouth. that was the third one i made and i'm still not crazy about it. it was funny, john was trying to show me what leo's mouth should look like, saying "like this" with his mouth scrunched to the side. ha! he said the first mouth was too small, the second too wide. he said it should look like a tear drop. i said you're about to see some tear drops in a minute! i'm glad leo's complete and hope little romeo enjoys him as much as we did.=)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

turtle power progress

that funny photo was taken by my five-year-old friend evie while i was crocheting leonardo for john's nephew's birthday. he's sitting in the bottom of a cupcake purse i've also been working on.

last night i finished leo's legs and feet and just need to do his belt, face, and sew him altogether. my idea of fun on a saturday night is crocheting dolls while listening to seminars on natural rights with john and kati, and i'm not embarrassed to admit that. oh, and i also henna'd my hair, so those gray streaks are gone. for now.=)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

simple little pleasures

"after all, i believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string." - lucy maud montgomery (anne of avonlea)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

a walk with kati

now that kati is somewhat trained, she likes to take walks around the block with me and john. there are many stops for sniffing, stalking and resting. this time she also hid under a parked car for about ten minutes because she spotted a dog. smart kitty. i love the pics of her little cat shadow.

(i've had a few people ask - we pronounce her name like katie. her former owner named her kati, which is thai for coconut, and pronounced it kah-tee. she answers to neither.=)

smithville + video links

my mom and i had our annual fall meet-up in smithville yesterday. we got lunch, lattes, sweet treats and cozy knitted wears. this was the only (extra rosy) shot i took of the day (i've been using a fall color enhancer on my cell phone camera). those roosters kept squawking past the store - i thought they were going to come in! i love smithville, and i love mommy-daughter time even more!

totally unrelated, but john has been showing me some entertaining videos that i thought i'd share:

coffee jerks - make your own cup o' joe you ungrateful little...
snl spoofs wes anderson movies. "you had me at wes anderson".
russel brand on voting, revolution and beards. finally, a celeb who shares my sentiments on voting, and appreciation for beards.=)

i hope you're having a great weekend! xoxoxo

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

cat tattoos

am i "too old" for temporary tattoos? probably. but i adore these cat tattoos that i found via the beautiful mermaidens blog, and i posted them just in case you love them too. meow.=)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

romanesco cauliflower

this week is the last for the csa. the most notable vegetable was the romanesco cauliflower. it's so pretty with the tiny florets and the little purple leaves. i chopped the cauliflower with bell pepper and tossed it with feta cheese, lemon juice, olive oil and garden thyme for a quick and tasty salad.

we're harvesting peas, a little at a time. i collected them in a big coffee mug and shelled them on the garden bench with kati underneath. she follows me around the garden until i stop and gave her rubbins, and then she follows me around for some more. relentless little fur-muffin.=)

Monday, October 21, 2013

autumn snapshots

walks are extra special in october when the sun is shining bright, casting its warm autumn glow. i make sure to take a camera to document and share this time of year in southern new jersey.

leaves crunching underfoot, we collect pine cones, acorns and the prettiest of the fall leaves. i'd love to make some simple leaf garlands to bring the fall color inside.

i hope you are having a beautiful autumn.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

lemon queens

the weather was so beautiful tuesday and the skies so blue. i'm glad i spent some time in our garden, savoring the last of our blooms. it's almost time to put the garden to bed until spring.

i planted three varieties of sunflower this year : mammoth, autumn beauty and lemon queens. instead of planting them all one day like i usually do, i spaced out the plantings from april til july. the goal was to have sunflowers blooming all summer long, and it worked!

these lemon queens are the last of them. john and i guess that there were over 20 sunflower plants in our garden this year. pretty to look at, but not so fun to dispose of! that's the glamorous part of gardening the books always leave out. but i'll be sure to include it in my book. chapter 12 : what to do with your 10 foot sunflower carcasses.=)

after the squirrels were fed, i collected some seeds for next year's garden. just lopped off some dead sunflower heads and dried them in the basement. with luck those seeds will grow and i'll save myself a few dollars on seed packets.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...