Author Archives: anasilanishtar

Advent Tree: Completed Tree – First day of Advent

IMGP0201

 

Since today is December 1st, I am leading off this post with our first ornament on the tree – the first one I made over two weeks ago. It is perfect in its spot at the top of the tree, right by the Christmas star.

First of all, I had two 1 yard pieces of felt, one in dark green and the other in hunter green. I placed and cut out the pieces with a pair of smaller fiskars – one of my daughter’s school scissors was perfect for that!

IMGP0145

 

All cut out!! I think it looks pretty – but I may be biased! Yes, it’s still a triangle, but I think the bounces help break it up a bit.

IMGP0148

 

I decided to sew the pieces together with a simple running stitch. Worked out quite well!!

IMGP0189

 

I added a Christmas star, the pattern for which can be found here: Printable Star Pattern and for a while I decided that it was done.

IMGP0191

But after sitting and contemplating it for a while. I decided that it needed some further decorations, so I added some of the craft ribbons I found at Target in the dollar section. I adhered the ribbon on with craft glue dots. The white dots you can see all over are  velcro dots – their mates are now stuck to the back on the ornaments.

IMGP0198

 

Here it is, mostly complete. I am still working on the ornaments as we speak. I have a Peppa Pig ornament and a Sheep ornament in the works, and I hope to have them completed by tomorrow afternoon. I also raised the Advent tree up about 1/2 a metre, as my youngest two were overly obsessed with pulling things off. Which is not too much of a worry, but it would be nice if they don’t destroy it within hours of it being put up 😉

 

Advertisements

Advent Tree Felt Ornaments Part 2

IMGP0192

 

Here is my second offering of handmade felt ornaments! Out of this batch, I am most proud of my Elf on the Shelf!

IMGP0205

 

First up however, we have a Hello Kitty for my middle daughter – Leia. I chose this one because her initials are L.O.V.E and she is a Hello Kitty fanatic 🙂 I got the image here: Hello Kitty Coloring Pages and simply resized them within a word document so that I would have enough copies of the image to make the pieces I needed. I know Hello Kitty’s bow is usually red, but since Leia loves the color green, I chose to further make this hers by making it green.

 

IMGP0206

This is my favourite! It is far from perfect, but I am so very pleased with it! I found it hard to find decent looking clip art online, so when I was in Joanns the other day, I grabbed a small candy container, scanned it into my computer and made my own template from that. Once again I used a word document to size the pictures the way I wanted, and then cut out the appropriate pieces.  No, does it look like a perfect representation of an elf on the shelf? No… it’s eyes are too close for one thing, but my girls think that it looks like our Judy Elf, which is all that I was aiming for!!

IMGP0207

 

I love Matryoshka Dolls. I decided that our advent tree needed one. It turned out so well and I got to learn how to do chain stitch to make it! You can too… I learnt it on this youtube video: Chain Stitch. I got the pattern for this doll here: Matryoshka Doll Ornament. It was fun to make and very striking! Definately in my top 10 favourites 🙂

IMGP0208

The last two are two traditional(ish) Christmas tree ornaments.  Like the patterns creator I decided to keep things simple with them, and I think they are lovely and festive! I got the pattern for them here: Vintage Felt Baubles found at Bugs and Fishes. I am loving a lot of her patterns – so go and show her some love!

If you are curious about my first set of ornaments, you can find it here: Felt Christmas Ornaments

 

Advent tree – Making the Tree Pattern

IMGP0129

 

I searched the mighty internets searching for a pattern to make a tree for our Advent tree. Eventually, not happy with just a plain triangle and not liking some of the others that I had seen, I decided to make my own. I started off with three peices of parchment paper taped to each other and my kitchen table.

After measuring the wall, I decided to make the tree 36 inches wide and 40 inches tall, not including the star at the top or the trunk at the bottom.

IMGP0130

 

Since my wooden ruler only measured 36 inches, I used a piece of red yarn to help make sure I would keep the line straight when I moved the ruler. It worked out very well!!

IMGP0131

 

There you have it! A (mostly) equal triangle, that has also been sectioned every 10 inches (hence the decision to make it 40 inches tall) – leaving four 10 inch sections.

IMGP0133

 

Knowing that when I cut out the pieces of the tree they would not have any over lap, and wanting the tree to have a bit of bounce and not be just a triangle on the wall, I decided to make bounces to go on the bottom. The bottom level (not shown), I added it at the bottom of the pattern. The bounces there were each four inches long. These were drawn free hand, so they aren’t even, but I wasn’t looking for perfection.

Each other bounce set is as follows:

  • 27 inches long, by 1 inch wide and the bounces were 3 inches each
  • 18 inches long, by 1 inch wide and the bounces were 2 inches each
  • 9 1/4 inches long, by 1 inch wide and the bounces were 1 inch each

IMGP0141

The pattern is all complete once the bounces have been taped to the bottom of the pattern pieces!

Coming up next: Cutting out the pattern pieces and sewing it all together.

 

Christmas 2013 – Advent Tree

ornament1

I decided this year that I would have a little fun and get creative with felt.  Above are the first seven felt ornament’s I’ve made for my/our advent calendar.

ornament2

First was this little guy – he is very simple and I grabbed his pattern here: Felt Robin Template and Tutorial. He/she is very sweet, but at this point, I am thinking of making him/her into a hair clip instead! All the other ornaments I’ve made are much larger. He/she is a wonderful first try however – and I am not biased!!

ornament3

This one was made second and I love love love it!! And not just because I am an owl freak. I found the pattern for him here: Give a Hoot for the Holidays. I didn’t have any rick rack, but I like my first attempt at embroidery design, even if the stitches are a very basic running stitch and french knot – those little boogers are trixy I tell you! I watched this  youtube video on learning to make the knots: Embroidery: How to stitch a french knot.

ornament7

Next up was my Christmas Tree. Originally this one had on glued on (with those  craft glue dots) sequins, but my youngest decided that the glue dots looked tasty, pulled all the sequins off and ate the glue dots. *sigh* Tasty! Some quick internet research told me that she wasn’t going to die of poisoning, so I am not worried. I am still irked that she did it though, BUT it was my fault in some regards as I left it unprotected on the kitchen table. I am considering going back and sewing the sequins on it again. I got the pattern here: Felt Christmas Tree Ornament

ornament5

This little angel is a favourite. She looks so peaceful! A delicate wee creature! I made her pink in honor of my eldest daughter who loves the color, and in my opinion, no Christmas tree is complete without an angel on it! I got her pattern here:  How to: Felt Angel Ornament #2

ornament6

I then decided that I wanted a simple bell. I chose this one: Christmas gift: Felt Holiday Ornaments + Free Ornament Templates. I decided to forgo the bell at the bottom since it is dangly, it makes noise and the bells are shiny… all three of those being attractants to two year olds and children with incessant fiddle fingers. I am hoping to locate my pinking shears this week to trim the edges to look like the original, but I think this is sweet in a very rustic way!

ornament4

This one is my current absolute favourite!! I couldn’t find a pattern online, so I searched for clip art and discovered this one.

piccollage

I think he’s lovely! I got pretty close to the original drawing I think, which can be found here: Little Penguin Pattern. I added the heart because I felt that he just needed it 😉 I messed up the french knots a bit – told you they were tricky!

ornament8

The final one in this set the traditional candy cane 🙂 I like how rustic it turned out. Little G has already tried to run off with it, and when she see it, makes slurping noises and goes Yum! You can find this sweet pattern here: How to: Felt Candy Cane Ornaments.

I am finding the blog: Bugs and Fishes to be a great resource!

Check back later this week for the next grouping of ornaments and how I go with making the actual tree!! 🙂

The Pioneer Woman’s Braised Beef Short Ribs

 

Braised  Beef Ribs

 

We don’t eat beef often. Over my life time I’ve eaten enough meatloaf and hamburgers to do me in. I have never been a huge fan of steak – since I am picky and like it cooked only one way. This past Friday, my Hubby brought home beef short ribs. I looked them and then I looked at him.  I gave him the sideways look that a dog gives its owner when it can’t figure him/her out. I didn’t want to rain on my hubby’s parade, so I promised him that I would bake up these lovelies for him. And he was happy.

I was however, clueless on HOW to bake them. So I ran to Pinterest and I found The Pioneer Woman‘s recipe for Braised Short Ribs. I have loved all but one of the recipes I’ve tried from her website – and that was because I used too much butter on her garlic bread recipe. So, that really wasn’t her fault. I’ll admit to reading one or two more rib recipes. But I didn’t want to use the slow cooker, and really wanted to use my Le Cruset dutch oven.

This recipe was so easy to do! Everything came together quite quickly and the house smelled divine from beginning to end! I made no changes to the recipe and within 2.5 hours I had the deliciousness that you see above. I’ve now printed this recipe and it has gone into my MUST make again folder. Seriously delicious, seriously easy and seriously… my entire family ate every last bite – which hardly ever happens! Nom nom nom!

Well finally!

I love my children. They are my life. What I don’t like (sometimes) is their unending curiosity about all things electronic… and by curiosity I mean their inability to not touch my things – like my cellphone, my tablet or my beloved Nikon L810.

On a recent trip to the Clearwater Aquarium (which was actually closed due to the filming of Dolphin 2), I discovered that one of my Darling Little Ones had dropped the camera and that it was now out of warranty. *sigh* Then calling around, I discovered that it was going to cost more than a brand new Nikon to fix! Grrrrr!

So cue me trying to decide what to do. Get a new camera or fix the old one? Today I finally decided to get a new camera – after all we have Christmas, a trip to Disney and a drive across country in the next 6 months, not to mention our move to Australia in June/July of 2014. I was so happy because Target has the Nikon L820 on sale for $199. Well… apparently this has been popular because they were out… in all the Targets within 50 miles of us.

Color me depressed 😦

What they did have was the Pentax X-5. A commensurate bridge camera that should be awesome for all the events listed above and for documenting all our holiday craftings 🙂

So far, I am impressed with the picture quality – and I had such lovely little models to test it out on!!

gabby3 hannah2 naomisasha

Happy Birthday Hubby/Daddy!

meltedcandlefun

My DH turned entered his late, late 30’s this week *cough49cough* and since we have instituted a make a present rule, rather than buy them, the girls and I made him the above pictures to hang on the wall in his office/closet space. Everyone chose their own grouping of colors and held them out whilst I melted them with the hair dryer. It was so much fun!

Originally we were going to use cut outs of the girl’s hands and use the crayon drippings around it, but it didn’t come together so well, so that idea got canned. Literally.

birthdaycake

Since DH is diabetic and doesn’t like too many sweet things, we also made him an delicious birthday cake. The cake portion was made with a Betty Crocker white cake mix, that I mixed up with 8oz plain greek yogurt and 1 cup of water and a really generous splash of vanilla. I mixed it all up and baked it in two 10inch pans for around 35 minutes.  After it was cooled, we slathered the flattened bottom cake with homemade strawberry jam, slices of fresh strawberries and some whipped cream.

After the top was put on, we covered the entire thing with vanilla whipped cream, used mini marshmallows around the base for decoration and topped it off with a sliced large strawberry and some rainbow sprinkles.

PicMonkey Collage

Turned out really well! 🙂 It was nommed up quickly and my husband totally enjoyed it!! See?!?!  So the cake was delicious, mostly healthy if you don’t count the marshmellows and still pretty damn healthy with them included. It doesn’t have any butter or eggs either. It was also super moist, well worth a try!

Rainbow Toddler Sweater – Next Stage

rainbow2

I finished the back and both the front panels this weekend and I am loving the way it is turning out! Since I am using a much smaller crochet hook, mine is starting to look a little different that the original post located here: Toddler Rainbow Sweater. I had to make some adjustments for the length as G1 is starting to get long, even through she’s still smaller than your average 2 year old.

Before I go on, I much apologize for the color state of the images – it was getting on to evening and sometimes my house really blows when it comes to lighting. I’ve done the best I could, with what I had and with the help of picmonkey.

rainbow3

The biggest issue I had, and again, it’s not a fault with the pattern, it was all me, was forgetting 4 lines in the front left panel and spending about and hour wondering about it.  Once I figured out my problem, I briefly flirted with the idea of pulling it all out again and decided not to. I simply wrote out what I was doing as I did it, so I could mirror the pattern. I don’t think I did too badly really! Thanks to N1 and DH for holding down the rolling corners for me.

rainbow4

See… they are close(ish) to matching. I feel proud anyways because, well,  this is my first sweater and I think it’s beautiful. I started working on the sleeves last night, and I am hoping to get them done so that I can take full sunlight, non-fuzzy pictures for you tomorrow 🙂

If you are curious about the first post regarding this sweater, you can find it here: Rainbow Toddler Sweater – Piece By Piece

I am considering making a quick video on how I joined the different colors and stopped having to weave in the start and finishing threads. I get bored with that real quick.

rainbow6
In a nutshell: In the last Sc, as directed, I join the next color with a slip stitch. Then I do the chain 1. Then I grab both ends of the thread I am using, bring them both up to the top of the crochet. I then take the hook, go over the top of them, under and through the last sc of the previous line, yarn over, pull through and complete the first sc for this new line with the new color. I repeat this about 8 times and then push the remaining threads towards the wrong side of the crochet and continue on along the line. It ends up looking like the picture above. Was that clear? Maybe I will make a short video that shows it better – I am a better visual learner and maybe you are too!

Caterpillar Sushi

I lived in Japan for about 15 months back in 2002 – 2003. I fell in love with the country, it’s people and it’s food… well for the most part. Some of the things I ate there means I will never wear the tag “culinary coward”. One thing I fell in deep adoration for, was well made sushi. I still dream of properly prepared and seasoned rice, toasted nori paper, fresh fish and yes… even large salmon eggs that are almost too salty and pop in your mouth.

When DH and I moved back to the US, I was sad. I missed my sushi. I had been traumatized on a recent trip back home to Australia as I had discovered that someone had through it an excellent idea to put BBQ chicken in rice and nori. *shudders* And when I got to the states… well! Cream cheese? Really? In sushi?!? *gags* I was sad, despondent, and disappointed.

Picture DH to the rescue! Shortly before L1 was born, DH set about learning the art of sushi making. He learnt how to make the rice the way I like it. He made California roll after California roll – I was pregnant remember and had a morbid fear of eating fresh fish at the time – I know the error of my ways now. Anyways, that brings me to today. Today my husband made me some cute sushi! Well I think it’s cute!

sushi1

It’s a caterpillar! I nommed it down almost before I could get a picture 😉

sushi2

It is toasted nori paper (he toasted it himself), Nishiki sushi rice, some green onion and nori wrapped surimi. Not photographed was the dollop of fresh, real wasabi and the soy sauce.

It was delicious and gone within minutes. And I appreciate the time and effort that went into this lunch for me!

Rainbow Toddler Sweater – Piece by piece

rainbow1

 

I love all things rainbow – they make me smile and I am super pleased when I get to dress one of my Littles in them. G1 is still to young to complain (too much) and she loves bright colors, so win/win in my opinion.

For all the colors, save for the green, I am using Bernat’s Vickie Howell Sheep(ish) yarns. I could not locate any Lime(ish) in my area so I am making do with some Red Heart Soft Touch Guacamole as a substitute. So far I am loving the feeling and the look of it. Makes me smile just to see it. G1 is going to rock this sweater this cooler season. I don’t say winter, because, well the Nature Coast of Florida only has two seasons – Fark! It’s hot!!! and Eh… It’s not quite as hot.

On a personal note – this little would totally be awesome as a hoodie. Ah well… maybe next time! 🙂