Friday, December 30, 2011

Mom's Lacy Scarf

I hope you're all having a great holiday season! I've had a fantastic week off of work just relaxing, visiting with friends and family, crocheting, and reading. It's been so nice! I'm not looking forward to going back next Wednesday and kind of wish I would've taken off all of next week too, but it really has been a nice break.

For the next few weeks, I'll be sharing with you the presents I made for my mom and sister for Christmas, as well as a few things I crocheted for myself. Today is this lacy scarf I made for my mom.

This was my third crocheting project ever (check out my first project, the basket) and I have to say it wasn't too difficult.. I didn't have to restart at all, and was able to just chug along once I got the pattern down. I used Patons Lace because it was the only brand of lace yarn I could find at JoAnn's. This yarn worked out well because my mom loves blue and it's also a very easy yarn to work with. It only took me one skein to create a 50" scarf, plus there's quite a bit of yarn left over.

You can find the pattern for free on Ravelry here (you will have to sign up for a free account but it gives you access to all kinds of patterns)!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Gigantic Salad

There's a food blogger that I follow who recently posted about her healthy habit she swears by: eating a gigantic salad every week day for lunch.

I thought this was a great idea because everyday when I go home for lunch (I have the luxury of living a mile from my work), I eat leftovers from the night before, which can be heavy, and make me sluggish and uncomfortable for the rest of the day. I decided to give it a try from the first day she posted it, which was Wednesday, and so far, I've been feeling great in the afternoon! I also don't feel quite as guilty about indulging on sweets later on either (like these Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars I made a couple days ago), knowing that I had a great lunch.

If you'd like to read what Andie has to say about her habit, click here. She also followed up with ways to add variety to your salads.

Friday, December 16, 2011


If you're a crocheter or a knitter and haven't been on, you should really take a look at what they have to offer. I've only been on there for a couple weeks and I've found free patterns for the hat I was making in my last post (I'll share that soon!) and two gifts for Christmas. Here's a screen shot I took of a search for mittens that my sister and I are going to make together:

It's so easy to find what you're looking for, because you can specify cost, if you want crochet or knitting patterns or both, and if you require a photo. There are many, many more search options, too. You can save your favorites, browse projects and yarns, and connect to other yarn lovers. You have to register but it's free, and gives you access to everything. Take a look!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Perfect Evening

Crocheting on my pretty new hat next to hubby and the Christmas tree. It was so peaceful. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How to Crochet a Basket

Today marks the one week anniversary of my starting to crochet. In that time, I've made this basket, two gifts that I don't want to spoil by posting here yet, and I've started a hat for myself. I like crocheting so much better than knitting .. I can keep track of what I'm doing easier, the instructions seem clearer in patterns, and I'm not constantly dropping stitches. It's almost instant gratification. For this basket, I did have to restart three times to get it to look right, but it was worth it. On one of the gifts I made, I pulled out almost 400 stitches to restart, and it ended up looking great (although it's smaller than it should have been). I guess what I'm saying is that I'm learning as I go. It's fun teaching myself through blogs; there are a lot of good ones out there!

For the basket, I followed this blog's tutorial on how to begin the basket and increase the stitches to make a circle. For her basket, she added a stripe and kept the basket low, but I wanted a taller basket to store my embroidery supplies in. So, if you want to make a basket like mine, once you get done increasing your seventh row to 84 stitches, start the eighth row crocheting with one double stitch per stitch (no more increasing). After two or three rows, you should see the sides of the basket curling up. Total, including the seven rows of the bottom circle, my basket has 22 rows (seven increasing on the bottom plus fifteen normal double stitching). Hope you enjoy making a basket as much as I did! It turned out really cute for a first project.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Zuppa Toscana

This soup is so good that even though the recipe isn't mine, I felt like I had to share it with you anyway. I love Olive Garden unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks. Zuppa Toscana is my favorite soup they have there, and I was overjoyed to find this recipe! I made it last night and it turned out great! Pair it with some greens with balsamic vinaigrette and you'll have a wonderful lunch .. plus leftovers for a few days!

You can find the recipe on Steak n Potatoes Kinda Gurl's website. Mine didn't turn out quite as pretty as hers but it still tastes amazing! The only thing I changed was rather than dicing the potatoes, I thinly sliced them to make the soup more like Olive Garden's. This reduced the simmer time to about fifteen minutes from twenty.