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Crochet for days!

Crochet for days!

HOOORAY! This is CROCHET FOR DAYS! Because we did this Mood Scarf for 31 days! KitKat and I finished our Mood Scarf, ok ok – we are 85% done. We have to crochet the border on it, she needs to sew in ends, and then wash and block! How exciting! It only took us close to three months since that is the amount of time she is with us in those three months! As we were finishing up the scarf yesterday, for our last day, she was already asking to do ANOTHER project! What the heck?! ALREADY?! Let’s finish this one first — Looks over to the five projects I have in the works at this very moment. Oh dear, she watches me too well doesn’t she?

 

Anyway, cool things I liked about doing the Mood Scarf.

  1. I got to do a project with KitKat (step-daughter of awesomeness).
  2. It encouraged both of us to really dig into what mood we were feeling that day – in its own way it was a mindfulness journey.
  3. We both ended on the same color/mood we started our scarves on.

I would tell anyone, ANYONE, who is into crochet or knitting to do a mood scarf of their very own if they are looking for a project. I really enjoyed it. It is a quick (I mean a month-long project but it really doesn’t take very long to do each day), the results are fun and fabulous, and you really have to be honest with yourself.

What do I plan on doing with the left over yarn from the Mood Scarf project? I plan on finishing my other projects first, is what I would say if my hubby asked me that question. But since I asked for you cause you’re curious, I’m gonna make a ripple picnic blanket with it and some other yarn from my stash! HAH! Just don’t tell the husband.

The Days are all crocheted on and are as long as the kitchen island!
Just me goofily wearing my scarf. It is very big!
KitKat showing how tall hers is on the second to last day we had left to crochet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here was our layout for your viewing pleasure and maybe project inspiration.

Keek’s and KitKat’s Mindfulness Mood Scarf

Our Moods and colours

  • Adventurous/Excited – Purple
  • Happy – Orange
  • Calm/Relaxed/Peaceful/Content – Sky Blue
  • Average/Neutral/Med – Green
  • Bored – Brown
  • Sad/Hopeless – Dark Blue
  • Unsettled/Mixed emotion – Yellow
  • Stressed/Overwhelmed/Frustrated – Black
  • Fear/Uncertainty – Grey
  • Angry/Upset/Irritated – Red

Our Method:

  • Materials
    • Crochet hook – 5.5mm (I/9)US
    • Yarn – 1 Skien of each color should be fine (we used Red Heart Super Saver, wash it with fabric softener and it softens up nicely)
    • Moods/Feelings/Emotions
  • Pattern
    • Moss stitch
      • chain 26 +1
      • Row 1 – skin 1ch from end, *sl st into next ch, hdc, rep from * turn
      • Row 2 – ch1, *sl st, hdc, rep from * to end
      • Repeat row 2 throughout scarf

I had a lot of the yarn already in my stash from other projects, but KitKat and I purchased four more skeins at the beginning because we wanted a lot more emotion options added. I have seen other plans that only have found colours, but we felt that there needed to be a broader range of choices. Having done that, I am glad we did. The reason I have more than one emotion for each colour is because sometimes those emotions all seem to go hand in hand for me.

I hope this helps and inspires you, because that’s why I do these things.

Til next time,

Keeks

January Temperature Blanket

January Temperature Blanket

OK! January on the Temperature Blanket is completed! It stretches across our kitchen island and is currently six inches tall (the growing side).

Well, January is done!! Wow, already one month down of this year and onto the next. January, in parts, flew by and in other parts seemed to just drag on. Concerning work, the hospital is super full this month so work has been crazy, busy, and awful. We have a few nurses out due to injury and our floor is just overburdened at the moment, and as usual it seems in healthcare, we are understaffed.

Well, onto the temperature blanket, this picture is the 31 days done! It is looking pretty good so far. I’m excited to see how it turns out. The colors are much more vivid in person. That has really helped in the colour changes and keeping it fun and interesting.  There is one green row in there, the bright one, that’s when it hit above 53degrees.

 

Black Tea Hair Wash

Black Tea Hair Wash

Once a week, I do a black tea hair wash/soak. I first started this because I noticed I was shedding so much hair!! After researching, I found a natural solution could be doing a tea soak. The black tea also blocks hair loss (I was shedding puppies daily) because it has caffeine and can block DHT which causes the hair loss. So it reduces the shedding! For me this has proven to be true. Concerning cosmetic benefits, it helps bring a brighter shine to hair and naturally darkens it and brings out my natural highlights. The green tea helps stimulate hair follicles and prevents shedding, it gives the hair a shine, can help strengthen hair, and can help with dandruff. Thankfully, at this time in my life, I am not dealing with a dandruff issue. Hahaha.

I have been happy about doing my tea rinse and will continue to keep it part of my weekly routine. 

My method

Tea Items:

2 Tablespoons of equally mixed black and green tea.
30 drops of Rosemary
15 drops of Texas Cedar wood
10-15 drops of whatever other oils you’d like
1/2 tsp. honey
– sometimes I will add Sandalwood, Lavender, Bergamot, lemon, orange, tangerine.

My mix tends to smell very earthy and I love it.

Utensils:

A bowl
A pitcher
A Shower cap

What I do:

Boil water – I boil 1Litre
Add tea and oils
Let steep for a few hours or overnight
Take to bath and rinse

I always take a bath when I do the rinse. Bring a bowl and pitcher, because when you rinse your hair you will want to rinse it over a bowl to catch it a few times. I rinse my hair about 5 to 10 times over, place a shower cap on and let it sit for 20 – 30 minutes.

During this time, I listen to music, meditation sequences, or watch a show. There is always chamomile or lavender in my bath. So relax for the 20 or so minutes, listen,  put a facemask on, and let the tea just soak in.

Rinse after 20 or 30 minutes. You can shampoo/condition if you want; I do not.

Dry and style. You’re done! Repeat in a week.

Also, my hair grows very quickly.

Granny Square Blanket

Granny Square Blanket

See, scarf was my initial thought.

I have learned so much from doing this project. This project started because I wanted to learn how to make Granny Squares. I thought of making a scarf to begin with as it is a simple, beginner level project. I used Red Heart Yarn, and I had to continue using it. My colours are Aran, Dark Orchid, Teal, Jade, and Sky Blue.

The six ways I did my squares. I made 20 of each for a total of 120.

I kept making squares and decided to make it into a lap blanket because making “Granny Squares is fun!” (she said). I finished up some of the squares and somehow thought that making 120 squares would be an excellent idea. Ok, note, making 120 squares was not an excellent idea during the process of making them; however, now they are done, it was a fantastic idea!

I have finally attached them all together. This project has taken over 2 years to complete from first idea to final. I finally decided back in November of 2016 that I was going to get on with it and just get it done. Now, as of Friday (January 6th,2017) all of the squares are together. I had a marathon on Friday and attached 27 squares.

This was the diagonal pattern that I first tried out and didn’t like.

When decided how to do the orientation for my squares in a certain pattern I laid them out on the floor in front of the fire-place. This first picture here was my first idea of how to pattern them. It was in a simple diagonal patter. I didn’t really like it though. It made me feel like there was just more to the blanket. So I tried a different pattern for the squares. This one had the squares coming up to a point in the middle. The Husband had fun watching me shuffle around on the floor laying the blocks out, changing my mind, laying them out again, not liking it again and then changing my mind and piling them into their piles again. The final pattern is here.

This is the final pattern that I attached them together in.

This was my final idea. I liked it. I started in the bottom right corner there with that square and I started to attached them This project was an enjoyable project and I would say for any avid crocheter who is in love with Granny Squares to do a GS Blanket. The end result will be something you can be proud of for decades! I will post my method of craziness next time. This time I wanted to just blog about what I’ve done.

Til next time,

Keeks

Mood Scarf

Mood Scarf

This past week I told Katie about the project I found for us to do together. I figured it out a few weeks ago, but I was finally able to share with her this past week while she (and Matthew) were with us for Christmas. The reason I thought about this project was because of my excitement to do my Temperature Blanket. I have been wanting to find a simple and productive project for Katie and I for a while and I finally landed on it. 

On December 27th Katie and I went yarn shopping to JoAnn’s for only four colors that we need. The rest of the colours I had in my stash. I spent a lot of time thinking about the emotions to place on our chart plus the colours to coordinate. Katie helped me as well and she picked out the colours we went and shopped for. JoAnn’s was having a good deal on the yarn, something I was happy for because I also wanted to show Katie that we didn’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy our project.

Katie is doing well with her crochet and didn’t want to do single stitch. I thought the Moss stitch with this pattern would do well for her. At first she thought it would be easy, but somehow she started with 27 stitches and then now has 18. I told her I guess it isn’t as easy as she thinks.

I have titled it our Mindfulness Mood Scarf. Katie even mentioned that she has enjoyed this scarf so far because it has already been making her really think about how she is feeling throughout the day.

Katie and I have chosen the same emotions, but on different days. Our scarves have all the same colours in it but in different patterns. She added green to hers yesterday and topped it off with an Adventurous/Excited today because she enjoyed playing with her brother and riding on her bike.

For those of you wanting to do a Mood Scarf yourself, let me show our plan. Realize, we chose a lot of colours and emotions and you can change things as you see fit for you. I have seen plans with 5 to 6 colours. I am hoping to do another one of these, once Katie and I have completed ours, with a friend. I am thinking about the next way to do my colours and emotion pairing.

I have enjoyed doing this with her so much already. Having the half hour or so each evening to sit at the kitchen table, crochet, chat, and just be with each other has been very enjoyable so far.

I’m excited to see how it grows.

 

Til next time,

Keeks

Teriyaki, Digestives, and Frigid Weather

Teriyaki, Digestives, and Frigid Weather

Over the weekend I made teriyaki and some homemade digestives. I was happy with all the results. I was nervous about making teriyaki. How the heck was I going to achieve the flavor Mark and I love about teriyaki without coming short. I’ve used teriyaki sauces before, they were disappointing compared to what you get at all the teriyaki places here. I don’t know why. Maybe they use the same thing, but since it comes in the take-out boxes from the shop it seems to taste special. 

I did use a jar of Kona Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce, but I spiced it up a bit with a few extra ingredients. Once I added those and tasted it, I knew I hit the jackpot with it. I left the chicken marinating for about three days in the teriyaki marinade, that was unintentional, but ended up being wonderful. I also found a recipe that is VERY close to my very favorite dressing from the simple little salad they always seem to serve as a side. When I first had teriyaki when we moved to Seattle I thought the simple salad was a funny little side, then I tasted that plain-looking dressing and LOVED it and typically had the teriyaki for the salad. I found the dressing recipe by Mom’s Dish called China Coast Salad Dressing. Next time I make it, I will not use as much sesame seed oil and honesty, will most likely start with none and see how that tastes. Not a bad start though on a path to find the perfect sauce/dressing to pair with that simple teriyaki salad.

My next mission this last weekend was to try making homemade digestives. You see, they are something my husband loves. I’m not talking a small infatuation here, I’m talking full on obsession. They are the reason he gets out of the bed in the mornings, braves the cold morning air in the hallway and kitchen, put water in the kettle, and makes us tea. He does all that just because he knows he has a biscuit tin in the tea cupboard that contains his dark chocolate digestives. He literally gets up to have one every morning. So I made some of my own. I used King Arthur recipe I found as a starter recipe. I then added some chocolate to the top once they had cooled and BAM they were finished. I was surprised with how easy and simple they actually were to make.

Well, that’s all for now. The weekend was cold and dreary. I slept a lot more than I am proud of but I know I needed it. I cooked a bit, crocheted a bit, explored a bit, and then started my Monday back off at work for a bit. I worked Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It is now Wednesday evening and I have more to prepare for our Christmas Celebrations. I’m excited to do some cooking the next two days! But mostly I’m excited to rest. My endo has been flaring up and it has been wiping me out.

Til next time.

Crochet Plant Cozies

Crochet Plant Cozies

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That is the plant cozy I crocheted before we left for England. I made two not of the same pattern though. I was inspired by all sorts of cozies I found on, what else but, Pinterest. A lot of the pictures were cute so I decided to give it a try. It is simply covering the generic black pot you find on IKEA fake plants. I have a lot of plants around the house but I have a few fake plants here and there in the bathrooms to liven things up and I wanted to give them a colorful jacket 😉

I am pretty sure I did not follow a pattern. I kind of made it up as I went along and kept telling myself I needed to write down the pattern…. but guess what I didn’t do?? I didn’t write down the pattern. I suppose that will need to make another.

My next goal is to make one for my larger ornamental grass that I have by the bathtub 🙂 Oh and here is the other one I made, just a little different from the first. …. and a different pattern… kind of. Ok, enjoy! I love free handing crochet stuff and just getting creative.

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Peppermint Extract

Peppermint Extract

Yesterday I had a very productive and busy day. I greatly enjoyed it! One of my little projects was making some peppermint extract 🙂 Next extract to make is gonna be lemon because I have a whole ton of lemons!! I also need to buy a couple more types of containers for these liquid concoctions. Anyway, onto the recipe/pictures.

Peppermint Extract

As you can tell, here are my instructions.

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1/2 cup peppermint leaves
1 1/2 vodka (I used 80 proof)
1 jar of choosing

Instructions:

Harvest peppermint
Wash the leaves
Dry them with a towel
Place the leaves in your jar
Cover completely with vodka
Close your jar
Leave in cool, dark place for the next month (or for the taste of your choosing)

I have not gotten to these steps yet:
Strain out solids
Store the extract 

Here is the peppermint plant before I went to town on it… we have harvested from this one once before. The first time was when Matthew picked the leaves to make his ice cubes for his headache water.

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Here is the after…. Apparently, peppermint loves it when you really prune them! They are also one of the hardier plants that will do ok during winter and come back the next year for more fun! Once harvested, it will grow back bushier than ever and we will be able to make more of whatever we want.

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The bounty!!

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So cute!

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I used one of my little jars. I love these jars! They store my face washes, salad dressings, small snack, face masks, and now I am gonna do some extracts in them. I seriously need more of these things!

I filled the jar entirely with the peppermint leaves then covered it with vodka 🙂 After which I placed it in the pantry to chillax for a month.

There it is! Hiding away like a little hobbit for the next month 🙂 CAN’T WAIT!

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I will let you know how it turns out and how I chose to store it and use the solid peppermint leaves 🙂 I was thinking it will come in handy for holiday time treats 🙂 Have a great day and have fun!

Peachy Simple Syrup and Jam

Peachy Simple Syrup and Jam

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Why make your own simple syrup? Because it is SIMPLE! Hahahaha!

Firstly, why did I do this? Well, because we were out and I forgot to grab some at the store! Also, I realized all that makes up this simple syrup is sugar and water!! Amazing right?

That is the simple syrup that I made. I did use raw sugar so that is why it is brown 🙂 Then I wondered what else could I do with this easy recipe!

PEACHES!!! I have a whole flat of peaches so why not make Peach Simple Syrup?!

Peach Simple Syrup

Ingredients:

2 Peaches
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

How to:

Cut up peaches into pieces and of course taking pits out! Place in medium sauce pan with your water and sugar.

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Boil water with ingredients. Stir and dissolve sugar while there is a rolling boil

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Once sugar is dissolved, turn off heat, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes.

IMG_3117Strain the liquid and peaches.

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I love the pinkness!! So cute!

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I didn’t feel right wasting those peaches I used. I in turn cooked them up with some vanilla and salt then blended them up, placed it into a jar, and called it jam.

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We ate that jam and that jam was yummy 🙂

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Well enjoy your simple syrup and jam if you also choose to make that! Up next for recipes will be some extracts!! YAY!

Saving Your Fresh Herbs

Saving Your Fresh Herbs

This year I planted a herb garden 🙂 Because of this I have A LOT of herbs (Basil, peppermint, thyme, parsley, cilantro, sage, and oregano) that I will not be able to use ALL RIGHT NOW! So I decided to do this fun way of preserving them.

Preserving Herbs for Cooking by Freezing 🙂

What you need! 

Fresh herbs
Olive oil(or oil of choosing)
Some helpers – preferably with smiles.
About 30 minutes of time (or thyme) whichever you prefer 😛

First, pick your herbs!

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Here is our first pickings

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Next we wash them!

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Chop them into LITTLE BITS! I liked to use my little CPR chopper 🙂

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Fourthly, place them into an ice tray like these ones. I made sure they were 3/4 of the way full. I also REALLY like using our star-shaped tray 🙂

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Add your oil!!Olive oil pictured here

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FREEZE!!!

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Use for your meals!! YAY!

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And one minor suggestion, don’t forget which ones are which! I accidentally forgot which were my sage and parsley. Because of this I wrote a little map down in my journal.

Anyway, enjoy! I will have to do this again this weekend with cilantro!

I did not show my peppermint!! I will do a post later about those ones 🙂