2 super adorable knitted baby hats

So, I’m not sure about you all but a few years ago I hit this phase in life where it seemed like every other month one of my friends had a baby. And now, like clockwork, the cycle is starting all over again with the 2nd wave of babies.

It’s a wonderful thing to see your friends become parents and I love me some babies. (Of course, I don’t have to live with them so its easy for me to say this with the well rested confidence of the childless).  I especially love them when they are still so little that all they do is eat, sleep and occasionally poo, but it’s not like the super disgusting poo because it’s milk poo. (For you squeamish ones, sorry for writing poo 3 times there and then again here.)

(I fully realize that visiting  babies is not at all the same thing as parenting and I’m confident I’ve got at least a few moms rolling their eyes at this post already. Oh, she loves babies, oh their poo isn’t so bad. Yeah right. )

Leslie-Knope-Christmas-GiftsIt’s no secret that I love making thoughtful gifts for my friends. I fancy myself like my shero Leslie Knope. Basically, you know you are in the inner Caro circle if you have had a least 1 homemade gift sent to you. I wouldn’t say these gifts are super impressive. But, I try to send something made with my own little hands that says, hey I love you and I know you just pushed a watermelon sized thing out of your vagina  and that sounds really hard and there is nothing I can do to make up for that awful pain but here is a really cute knitted hat. Something like that.

For those of you are also going through your own wave of friends with babies and would like to send them a little something, I’m sharing here 2 recent knitted hats I made. Full disclosure, I made 1 of these too small and it ended up looking like a baby yarmulke (doesn’t really work  for a goyish baby) so this is not a perfect science. Learn from my mistakes and try to account for baby head size. Also, I don’t have babies so I made my cat model these (and she loooved it!) But, it turns out cat heads are smaller than baby heads. Go figure.

Super Adorable Knitted Hat with Animal Ears 

I found this pattern on pinterest and knitted it in an afternoon so it’s super ac1dcc50-8bd4-435d-9b9f-db4ca58ad643easy to do and a great novice knitting project.

  • What you’ll need:
    • baby yarn and 5 1/2 inch needles.
  • How to make it:
    • Cast on 56 sts. Work in stocking stitch for 22 rows. Then begin to shape the crown.
    •  Knit 1, *k 4, k2tog* rep from * 9 times, end knit 1. (47 sts.)
    •  Pearl
    • Knit 1, *k 3, k2tog* rep from * 9 times, end knit 1. (38 sts.)
    • Pearl
    • Knit 1, *k 2, k2tog* rep from * 9 times, end knit 1. (29 sts.)
    • Pearl
    • Knit 1, *k2tog* rep from * 7 times, end knit 1. (16 sts.)
    • *Pearl 2tog* across entire row. (8 sts.)
    • Leave your remaining sts on your needle cut the yarn with a long tail. Use a tapestry needle to draw the end of the yarn through the remaining sts as you remove them from the needle. Pull tightly and sew the two edges together to finish.
    • Ears (make 2):
      • Cast on 21 sts and knit 3 rows. Cut yarn leaving a long and draw through remaining sts with a tapestry needle. Pull tightly and knot to secure. Keep the tail to help secure the ears to the hat.
      • Finish by sewing a circle of felt to the centre of the ears. Use a contrasting colour and sew in place with a blanket stitch. Sew the ears in place with the remaining tail of wool, sewing back and front to make them secure.

Cutest Knit Bow Baby Hat 

I also found this pattern on pinterest and I love the way it turned out. fd6c0d34-b5a5-4c93-9830-36483029346dHowever, this is the one I made too small which I’m confident is my fault and not the pattern maker. I’m going to try again this week.

  • What you’ll need:
    • Worsted wool yarn, circular 16 inch needles and 7 inch double pointed needles, both size 7.
  • How to make it:
    • Using long-tail cast on, cast on 64 stitches onto your circular needles with the main yarn color. Join to knit in the round and knit 2 stitches, purl 2 stitches in a rib stitch for 5 rows
    • Stay with main color and knit 2 rows.
    • Switch to accent yarn  and knit 4 rows.
    • Switch back to main yarn and knit until the hat in about 4 1/2 inches long.
    • Begin to Decrease hat:  Knit 6, Knit 2 stitches together and repeat to the end of the round.
    • Knit all stitches
    • Knit 5, Knit 2 stitches together and repeat to the end of the round.
    • Knit all stitches onto the double pointed needles.
      • Needle 1: Knit 4, Knit 2 stitches together, repeat two times.
      • Needle 2: Knit 4, Knit 2 stitches together, repeat two times.
      • Needle 3: Knit 4, Knit 2 stitches together, repeat one time.Knit directly onto 3 of the double pointed needles.
      • Use the fourth double pointed needle to knit all stitches to the end of the round.
      •  Knit 3 stitches, Knit 2 stitches together and repeat to the end of the round.
      •  Knit all stitches to the end of the round
      • Knit 2 stitches, Knit 2 stitches together and repeat to the end of the round.
      • Knit all stitches to the end of the round
      • Knit 1 stitch, Knit 2 stitches together and repeat to the end of the round.
      • Knit all stitches to the end of the round
      •  Knit 2 stitches together and repeat to the end of the round.
      • Cut yarn, pull through loops and close. Weave in ends. 
    • For the bow: knit 14 stiches across for about 7 rows, tie off with yarn and stitch to hat.

Happy knitting!

Homemade Coffee Body Scrub

I don’t know about you all but the changing of seasons can be rough on my skin. I hate that without fail as soon as it starts to get warmer out my body decides its time to shed like I’m a snake.  This year, I decided I would not be embracing my inner Slytherin and came up with a strategy of my own constant vigilance that I like to call constant exfoliation. I get in the shower and think to myself, what would Mad Eye say? Constant. Exfoliation.

via Bustle.com

I don’t really do many DIY beauty products as I tend to trust the maintenance of my skin to the professionals. Plus, I’m lazy and who honestly wants to make their own lotion? Weird. However, I made an exception for this body scrub which involves 3 of my favorite things: coffee, sugar and coconut oil. And yes, I can feel your eyes rolling as I’m writing this because the internets have been blowing up over coconut oil and I’m with you that it’s pretty dang annoying.  People seem to think there isn’t a single thing that coconut oil can’t fix (and maybe they are right?) but for now, I’m loving that it’s making my skin super soft.  The coffee in this scrub also has benefits beyond smelling delicious as apparently caffeine can also tighten your skin (or something? I am like 40% certain that’s true.)

A few things about this body scrub. In addition to the obvious, (that it will make your skin super soft and delicious) it will also completely wreck your shower. Like, you’ll try to rinse it off only to look around and think your coffee maker exploded in your shower. Lovely. But, do not fret. This is normal. And the result will be totally worth the extra effort to rinse off your shower, I promise.  Make this body scrub and your body will thank you.

Coffee Body Scrub

  • What you’ll need: index
    • 1/4 cup Coffee grounds
    • 4 Tb Coconut oil
    • 3 Tb Turbinado Sugar
    • 1 t Vanilla
    • Canning Jar (sold at most grocery stores and Target too)
  • How to make it:
    • Step 1: Melt the coconut oil in the microwave. I think it took me like 30 seconds but it just depends on how solid it was when it started.
    • Step 2: Mix coconut oil with coffee grounds, sugar and vanilla. You want it to be a little moist but not so much that it won’t give you some proper exfoliating so add more coffee or more coconut oil depending on consistency.
    • Step 3: Once you have desired consistency, scoop into a jam jar and use liberally in the shower. I recommend rubbing it and letting it sit for like a minute before rinsing off.  Enjoy!

 

 

Vintage Suitcase Nightstand

I love vintage shopping. And thrift store shopping. And garage sale-ing. Pretty thriftshopmememuch anything where you can find a gem in a place you wouldn’t expect (for a bargain). I like the discovery of it all, that you don’t know if you’re going to find something amazing or come back empty handed.

I am solidly against the kind of vintage or thrift stores  that all the hip kids are going to these days. These are places where they expect you to pay $100 for a dress from 1965, a dress so polyester that you would probably burst into flame if standing too close to a lamp. Because no. Just. No. Thrift stores should be places where you  find amazing things for cheap, leading to the satisfaction of proudly telling someone you only paid $2 for the shirt they just complimented you on. I mean, how cool is it to say, hey I totally bought this shirt (made over 50 years ago) for triple the price of a new one. Score!  I realize this might make me seem cheap in the eyes of some. To me, it means that I’m a genius because I spent little monies and still got compliments. I was raised with the strong belief that getting a good deal is the best bragging right one can have.

I am all for the thrift stores that  charge $1 a pound (seriously, what happened to those?)the kind of places that you have to dig a little before you find the good stuff.  Unfortunately, these places are harder to come by than one would think. This is because somehow (and I blame Macklemore for this) it became cool to go “thrifting” and  capitalists manage to ruin everything, eventually.

For one to find an amazing thrift store that few know about this usually requires driving somewhere off the beaten path. Which is how I discovered the best consignment store ever in a town called Norco, California. It’s a cowboy town somewhere between the Inland Empire and Palm Springs, also known as “no hipsters land”.  I found my favorite cameo necklace there, a huge Morton salt tin (complete with the yellow rain coated girl) and slightly worn cowlady boots–all for less than $8. I also found amazing vintage suitcases there, something that in LA would have been at least $30, I got for less than $10. And, thanks to the magic of Pinterest, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.

I promised to share a little bit of crafting here and this vintage suitcase night stand is one of the easiest crafts ever. Plus, if you’re like me and you hoard books the way other people hoard chocolate (okay, maybe I do both of those things) then you can store stuff inside the suitcase. And finally, if you need further convincing, its a craft that has an actual household purpose. Woo hoo!

Vintage Suitcase Nightstand 

  • 2fd6b9d2-f6e4-4055-a52c-23bc29a030b2Materials needed:
    • 1 Vintage suitcase (as lightly worn as you can get for something 70 years old)
    • A drill
    • 4 table leg brackets (like these, found at home depot)
    • 4 table legs (also at home depot)
    • Stain (optional)
  • How to make it: 
    • Step 1: After finding your awesome vintage suitcase make sure you clean it up a bit. It’s old. I wiped mine down 584e2c38-0b60-47e0-ba81-0a81e4bad751on the outside and made a little sachet of potpourri for the inside because I like vintage things but not necessarily vintage smells.
    • Step 2: If you are staining your table legs, brush stain on now and let set as long as the instructions say, I think overnight?
    • Step 3: Flip over suitcase and using a drill, secure the table leg brackets on all 4 corners of the suit case.
    • 2c6892fd-d225-49ef-a8cb-50a7b87a0e10Step 4: Once table legs are dry, screw each one tightly into table bracket. And you are done! You have an awesome night stand! That you made (kind of!)

 

The Joy of Knitting

If you told me last year I would be spending my days blogging, knitting, sewing, cooking and reading I probably wouldn’t have believed it. I mean, I would  have thought that sounded amazing since last year I was running my millionth campaign and was so stressed out I literally cracked my teeth from grinding them. (Because of this my dentist made me get a $1000 night guard that I no longer need. I’m a little bitter about it).

Teeth grinding jobs aside, I like what I do and have always wanted to work. In a way, I think I have an unhealthy association  with work because it is so integral to who I am. Long before I had the Texan or even my cat, I had my job and it was like my kid (assuming your kid pays you moderately to work your butt off for it. So, maybe not like a kid at all, they totally don’t pay).  I’m good at what I do. And because of that, liz-lemon-drunk I was lulled into a false sense of security that I would always be able to find a job.  I lived in places like LA and New York where they value progressive, sassy, small women. (Plus, if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere, right? No, as it turns out. Thanks for nothing, old blue eyes). On my first run here, I spied no less than 5 “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and started to get worried. My worries were confirmed by my first small talk conversation where a man gleefully told me “You gotta love a town that supports 4 Walmarts.” And I swear someone played this music. I live in a state that loves Donald Trump. And I’m still in shock about it.

I’m not going to pretend this transition has been easy for me. Just thinking about writing this post while on the treadmill was enough for tears to start streaming down my face (worst).  I feel like a failure that I haven’t been able to find work opportunities here. But, the break has been good, too. My previous job wasn’t just a job, it was my life. My nights, weekends, my thoughts when I wasn’t at work, even my dreams (which really sucks). It’s a testament to the awesomeness of the Texan that our relationship survived that time. Suffice  it to say, I needed a break. And if tumblr_mqd550R2Li1qfqs3do2_250Hermione can take a year off to read books and  focus on personal development, then why the heck can’t I? We aren’t planning on living here forever and its my sincere hope that the next place we live is a more job friendly environment for me. And, hopefully, one that doesn’t have slot machines at the grocery store. Please.

One of the things that has truly been a healing thing for me is knitting (and exercise, but who wants to hear about exercise? Borrring). There is something satisfying about making something, stitch by stitch. I’m far from an expert knitter and only recently mastered anything beyond a scarf. If you are a good friend of mine, there is strong probability I have sent you some knitted slippers because I’ve been making them like crazy. f538da94-f740-483c-bfca-30ee7886c43dFor those of you out there who are just dying to bust out the yarn and needles, I will share the pattern to make these slippers (or booties, if you prefer). These are super easy, promise! You only need to know how to knit and purl and thank goodness we live in a world with Youtube where there are loads of awesome tutorials.

 Knitted Slippers 

  • Items needed: 
    • Knitting needles (I use size 10 1/2)
    • Yarn (Most yarn will do, go for Vana’s Choice or Lion Brand to start). I can usually make 1 set of slippers using 1 skein
    • Knitting stitching needle (like this)
    • Scissors
  • How to make them: 
    • Step 1: Cast on and knit a row as long as you want your slippers to be wide (for adult slippers, I do 28 stitches). You should knit with 2 threads of yarn as 1 just isn’t cushy enough for slippers. You knit just like normal except instead of 1 strand, use 2.
      • Tip: when you start, leave a little tail of yarn for stitching later. 
    • Step 2: For your 2nd row you are going to knit 8 stitches, purl 1, knit 10, purl 1, knit 8 more.
    • Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2, alternating for about 13-15 rows. I usually measure this on my foot, you want this part of the slipper to hit about just below the ball of your foot as you are making the heel of the slipper.
    • Step 4: Next, you knit the toe of the slipper. Alternate across the row purl 1, knit 1 and repeat for about 8-10 rows. Again, measure on your foot to know how many rows to make.
      • Tip: I’ve learned that the yarn tends to stretch, so make them a wee bit smaller than your foot. 
    • Step 5: Cast off the last row. Now you should have a square about the size of your foot. Repeat steps 1-5 and make a 2nd slipper (assuming you want 2 and aren’t trying to start a 1 slipper trend).
    • Step 6: After you have both slipper squares, use your plastic knitting needle to stitch them up. I start with the heel. Make sure to turn the square inside out side up (you should have 2 ridges where you purled). Knit together the back of the slipper the bottom to create the heel of the slipper.
    • Step 7: Stitch up the toe. I fold the square over a bit so the toe is rounded and knit up the seam until you reach the heel part. Tie off and you’re done! Super cozy slippers, made by your own wee hands! Hooray!