Thursday, November 26, 2009

Button Collar Scarf Pattern

I made a wonderful trade with micandme from Ravelry and obtained some beautiful homespun wool yarns. I've been busy as a beaver knitting it up into Christmas gifts, and I made one up for myself! I had a small skein of super bulky in gray that was so soft I couldn't resist it.  But there was only 35 yards. What to do?!
Here are my results.

Button Collar Scarf - Pattern

Super Bulky Yarn - 35 yards
size 7.5 mm knitting needles
1 large button
contrasting scrap yarn to make tassels

Cast on 10 stitches
Stocking stitch for # of inches to fit around neck loosely  + 1/2 inch ending with a purl row.
Knit 4, yo, knit two together, knit to end
Do 2 more rows of stocking stitch and cast off.

With a contrasting yarn, make tassels and sew them across the end with the button hole and 3 inches across the bottom of the scarf. (the button hole should be on the top half of the scarf)
Block  scarf to stop the edges from rolling
Sew on a large button to match up with the button hole

(These tassels were made by looping on long pieces of home spun yarn through the weave of the knitting and unraveling them)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Creamy Asian Carrot Soup

I made up a new carrot soup recipe the other day, it vaguely resembles one I saw online but this one has no cream in it and more pantry ingredients. It also uses peanut butter (weird, but delicious!) which you can omit if there are allergies.

Creamy Asian Carrot Soup

3 cups of chopped carrots
4-5 cups water
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tsp celery seed or 1 stalk celery
1 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove garlic crushed
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes ( I used our pizza seasoning herbs with pepper flakes)
Bring to a boil and cook until carrots are tender.
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp peanut butter
Puree all ingredients in a blender or with a hand blender in the pot
Add 1/3 cup of milk (we use rice milk) with 1 Tbsp of cornstarch mixed in. Put back on heat and stir constantly until it thickens a little. Serves 4-6

Bread Maker Jam: Mango Orange Raspberry

I made jam in my bread maker today! I figured it was time to use up some of the frozen fruit I had in the freezer from summer smoothies. We ave been eating a lot of Tea biscuits lately and this jam is just perfect!

Mango Orange Raspberry Jam

2 cups chopped mango pieces
1 1/2 cups raspberries
1 cup sugar
1 pkg orange Jello

Put all ingredients in bread pan in order and set to "jam" program.
Let sit when cycle is done for 15 minutes before removing from bread maker.
Spoon into jars and freeze until ready to use, or put in a hot water bath in Canning jars to seal.
Makes 2- 8 oz jars

Note: if using frozen fruit, partially thaw before starting.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"I'll teach my child 100 words....."

There's a book I love reading to the children called "I'll teach my dog 100 words" It's a fun book to read, but it does make me think about our responsability as parents to our children.  How much easier life sometimes is when our children learn to talk!
You will see a new sidebar link, for a site called Pawz for Words. It is our new "School" project! We have been learning ASL as our second language componant, and I have seen so many wonderful things come from it.

So here's our plan. Over the remaining school year we plan to learn, and post 100 ASL words to this site in our dictionary. DD wants to practice photography so this is a great chance for her to do so. And the boys are excited about being a part of the "cast" in our video clips!

We have named our ASL puppet Leopawz, and he is the sites mascot and official hand signer!
The site has a Video/Photo dictionary, Links to resources, helpful hints for learning and a blog where I intend to post games and activities, kids crafts and new words once a week. We even hope to post a few Sunday school songs  and Awana Cubbie bible verses to the dictionary as well!

So if you have ever had interest in teaching a baby, toddler, preschooler or school aged child sign, I believe this will be a great place to start! Pawz For Words

(We plan by Sunday night to post the entire alphabet and babies first 5 words into the dictionary.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

ASL /Homeschool Puppet

I was looking up puppets for a Little House project and I spent some time admiring professional puppets.  They look like so much fun! We have a few at home that we play with, and they are great for story telling and role playing. And as I was web browsing I saw some puppets that were two handed-one for the mouth movements and the other fit into a shirt sleeve that was on the body of the puppet and into a gloved hand. It really helps to animate the the puppet.
So my gears started working and with the puppets I had seen, including a puppet on Dr Wonders Workshop, and the desire to add a new activity to our ASL learning I came up with Paws. You don't need a working mouth for an ASL puppet, but two working hands!

He is an over sized 20" stuffed animal that I bought at the thrift store, a size 6X boys long sleeve jersey shirt and a pair of fleece gloves. (You could use stretchy gloves from the dollar store as well) All those supplies cost me a whopping $3!

Here are the directions....

1 large cuddly stuffed animal of choice (make sure there is a forehead and a mouth area and a chin area on the head, sounds crazy, but trust me! Round headed animals are the easiest)
1 long sleeved shirt that fits the animal (don't worry about extra long arms or length, just have a pleasant fit around the body and neck. Make sure that you can fit your forearms into the sleeves and your hands past the cuffs.)
1 pair of fleece, nylon or stretch knit gloves. (Thick heavy gloves or chenille gloves don't work because you can't shape signs with your fingers well enough)

Tools Needed
stitch ripper 

a strong all purpose thread in the color of the shirt and the animal

hand needle
sewing machine


Prepare the Bear (or other stuffed animal like our lion):Carefully with your stitch ripper, remove the arms of your animal and then with your needle, whip stitch the body closed. (I know, a sad thing to do.  That's why we didn't pick a toy from our own toy boxes) Set aside and pick up the shirt.

 Armholes: Carefully cut the back seam of the shirt arm that runs from the shoulder to the under arm along the seam. Roll and pin the now cut and open area into a hem and sew all around with your sewing machine.

Hands: Sew the gloves by hand to the inside cuff of the shirt. Stretch the gloves and cuff with your non sewing hand inside of them as you sew the two together around and along the shirts natural hem. This way you know you have enough stretch to get your hands through

Shortening and lining the shirt: Now here comes the tricky to explain part.... the shirt will probably be way to long for the puppet, but you are going to use the extra length to create a liner so that you don't have stray fur or color popping out of the arm openings as you use your puppet.

- From the shirt bottom, fold the shirt up inside itself until the bottom hem at the side seam reaches the shoulder seam right by the neckline. With your needle and matching thread tack the shoulder/neck seam and bottom hem together. Repeat for second side.

- Lay the shirt flat on a table inside right, and with the bottom hem still tucked up inside,  even up the fold around the bottom and pin all the way around

- Sew around the shirt 1 inch up from the fold edge. This makes the shirt look like it's hemmed.

5. Place the shirt on the puppet. With a needle and thread tack the shirt (at the same place you tacked the shirt at the neck) to the top of  where you whip stitched the arm holes together. This would be the shoulder of the puppet. Do this on both side so that the shirt won't be removed. The remaining tucked up shirt fabric is just left alone, unless you find there is too much bulk, then you could tack it in various discreet places to the puppet.

6. Now have fun! Go to Paws To Tell You or SigningSavvy  to learn some ASL alphabet and favorite words (manners like "please" and "thank-you" are good preschool signs to start with)
Place an arm down each sleeve and place the puppet in your lap. Keep your elbows tight to your side as you move the arms of your puppet. (or it will look like a puppet gone out of control with dislocated joints!)