Friday, September 16, 2011

September 2011

Two-Bite Christmas Delights!
These tassies and tarlets from Better Homes and Gardens look like great treats for the holidays!  Over twenty recipes!  Check them out at:

Decoupage Plastic Plates!
I can't believe these beautiful plates are made from plastic! Great idea from
Another great craft project from BHG ...

Beautiful 'Edible' Tree
I love this Christmas topiary made from purchased meringues! Great idea from BHG ...

Instead of taking up so much room on the blog with individual ideas, I decided to create a SmileBox just for you! Be sure to click the symbol in the lower left corner to expand to full screen...

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Oh, we just have to try this on Halloween! My husband is the ultimate practical joker...after I try it out on him, I'll let him try it out on the neighborhood kids (young and old!)

Place a big bowl of candy with a sign that says "Take only one, please!" Place a carved jack-o-lantern next to it, with a baby monitor hidden inside. Observe hidden from nearby ... if anyone takes more than one, watch the fun when the voice from inside your pumpkin says, "Please put one back!"

from Martha Stewart Halloween ideas

As a high school librarian, I encountered many drama queens (and king!) as you can well imagine! Life is so intense at that age. I came across these signs I had hanging in the library...

I just ordered the "free" pattern for this gorgeous afghan to make for my mom, who is currently battling breast cancer. One side effect for her is that she is always freezing.

I love this simple stocking to knit, it would be so easy to decorate! Get the free pattern here!

One of my most talented friends hand makes(and sells) these crosses in colors to match your decor. She made one just for me! I think they would make great wedding gifts, anniversary gifts, or anytime!

Hi! This is my first time to try my hand at 'blogging,' so I apologize in advance for the mistakes I'm sure I will make. For instance, I know these pictures are not the greatest, but when I took with my cell phone, I never dreamed I'd try to put them on the web. Since they were gifts, I no longer have them to get new pictures. Moving on...

These were so easy, so much fun to make, and got raves when I gave them as gifts. I think the toes need to be longer, but I didn't feel like ripping out. Maybe on the next one...

I simply followed a free pattern I downloaded. After the stocking was completed, I used the duplicate stitch to add the name to the top border and the tree to the leg of the stocking. The decorations are sparkly stones and mini Christmas ornaments (purchased at Hobby Lobby) that I glued on with craft glue. The final touches were the music button that I glue inside the toe to play when pressed, and the jingle bell sewn to the toe. Hope you have as much fun as I did!

Christmas Stocking Pattern
Materials:Worsted-weight yarn:  1 skein each, white, red, green
(Decide which color you want for the leg of the stocking, this is Color A.
The white area at the top for the name is Color B. The alternate color on each side of the white area is Color C.)

Knitting needle size 8 (5mm) or whatever size needed to get correct gauge
Gauge: 16 sts and 24 rows = 4". To save time, take time to check your gauge.

Stocking is worked back and forth from the top down to the toe.

Special Abbreviation
SSK: (Slip, slip, knit) Slip next 2 stitches knitwise one at a time, insert left needle from left to right into the fronts of these 2 stitches and knit them together.

With Color C, cast on 61 sts. Work in St st, beg with a purl row, for 4 rows, ending with a RS row. K 1 row for turning ridge. Work 4 more rows in St st in Color C.
Change to Color B (white) and knit 10 rows in St st.
Change to Color C and knit 2 rows in St st.
Change to Color A and cont to work in St st, beg with a knit row (RS), for 40 more rows, ending with a WS row. (This makes a long stocking; shorten here if desired.)
Dec Row: K1, SSK, k to last 3 sts, k2 tog, k1—59 sts. Cont to work in St st, rep dec row every 10th row 3 times—53 sts rem, ending with a WS row.
Divide for Heel
(RS) K13 and sl to holder for right half of heel; k17 and sl to 2nd holder for instep; k13 for left half of heel. Work on these 13 sts only.
Row 1: P13.
Row 2: Sl 1, k12.
Rows 3-18: Rep Rows 1 & 2.
Turn Heel
Row 1: P2, p2 tog, p1, turn.
Row 2: Sl 1, k3, turn.
Row 3: P3, p2 tog, p1, turn.
Row 4: Sl 1, k4, turn.
Row 5: P4, p2 tog, p1, turn.
Row 6: Sl 1, k5, turn. 
Row 7: P5, p2 tog, p1, turn.
Row 8: Sl 1, k6, turn.
Row 9: P6, p2 tog, p1—8 sts rem. Sl sts to holder.
(RS) Sl 13 sts for right half of heel to needle, attach yarn.
Row 1: K13.
Row 2: Sl 1, p12.
Rows 3-18: Rep Rows 1 & 2.
Turn Heel
Row 1: K2, SSK, k1, turn.
Row 2: Sl 1, p3, turn.
Row 3: K3, SSK, k1, turn.
Row 4: Sl 1, p4, turn.
Row 5: K4, SSK, k1, turn.
Row 6: Sl 1, p5, turn.
Row 7: K5, SSK, k1, turn.
Row 8: Sl 1, p6, turn.
Row 9: K6, SSK, k1—8 sts rem. Cut yarn. Sl these sts to free needle.

Gusset & Instep
With RS facing, k8 sts of Right half heel. With same needle, pick up 9 sl sts from right edge of heel flap, k27 instep sts from holder, pick up and k9 sl sts along left edge of heel flap, k 8 sts from holder—61 sts.
Row 1 & WS Rows: P across.
Row 2: K14, k2 tog, k 29, SSK, k14.
Row 4: K13, k2 tog, k29, SSK, k13.
Row 6: K12, k2 tog, k29, SSK, k12.
Row 8: K11, k2 tog, k29, SSK, k11.
Row 10: K10, k2 tog, k29, SSK, k10.
Row 12: K9, k2 tog, k29, SSK, k9—49 sts rem.
Work in St st until foot measures approx 6-1/2" from edge of heel flap, ending with a WS row. Dec 1 st in next row—48 sts. P 1 row.

Toe (Change to Color C)
Row 1: K9, k2 tog, k2, SSK, k18, k2 tog, k2, SSK, k9—44 sts.
Row 2 & All WS Rows: P across.
Row 3: K8, k2 tog, k2, SSK, k16, k2 tog, k2, SSK, k8—40 sts.
Rows 4-15: Cont to dec 4 sts every RS row as est until 16 sts rem.
From WS, sl first 4 sts to holder; sl next 8 sts (top of stocking) to empty needle, sl rem 4 sts to 2nd holder. From RS, beg with 4th st, sl 4 sts from first holder onto 2nd needle, k4 from 2nd holder (side edges at center of needle). Turn so points of both needles are at right, cut yarn leaving a 14" tail.
Weave Toe
Thread yarn onto yarn needle. Weave toe as follows: *On front needle, go through first st as if to k, sl st off needle, go through 2nd st as if to p, leave on needle, on back needle, go through first st as if to p, sl st off needle, go through 2nd st as if to k, leave on needle; rep from * until all sts have been worked; fasten off securely, leaving end to sew up back seam.
Sew back seam. Turn top edge to inside at ridge and tack in place.

In duplicate stitch (you can find a YouTube tutorial at work tree on leg of stocking, beginning 4 rows below white name area.

Chart for trees:
green tree                               white tree

Work name in white area in duplicate stitch.
I used the chart below, but other letter patterns are available at:

Now for the fun part!
Using craft glue designed for fabrics, add snowflake buttons, jewels, and mini ornatments. Glue a music button (available at Hobby Lobby) inside the toe of the stocking if desired. Sew a large jingle bell to the toe.


Yesterday, as I stood in line at the check-out, I fumbled through my purse and wallet for my debit card. It's funny how all those ID, membership, and credit cards look the same when all you can see are edges! So, I pulled out a handful of cards to look for the right one and ... whoosh! ... I dropped them and watched in horror as they scattered everywhere. The checker was beginning to look irate as she waited, while impatient shoppers behind me helped gather up my scattered belongings. They couldn't hurry me out of there fast enough!

Later, a friend made such a simple suggestion, I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it before. Simply take brightly colored permanent markers (I used Sharpie) and highlight the edges of the cards you use most often in different colors. Now I can easily and quickly locate the card I need!

There are over twenty FREE Christmas newsletter templates ready for download with a touch of a button! Just click here.

Christmas Crackers to make

I have always been fascinated by the British tradition of Christmas Crackers, those little goodies placed by each plate at the table resembling an over-sized wrapped candy. When the ends are pulled, a "cracker strip" inside causes it to make a loud snap, followed by the small trinkets and prizes spilling out. I found a website ( that shows a step-by-step tutorial for making these lovely table gifts. What a lovely way to create a tradition for family gatherings. By making your own, you can personalize the gifts inside to suit the personality of each guest. I'm starting on mine tomorrow!

The snap strips used in making these are available in bundles of 25 for $4.95 at:


Can these paper Christmas trees really be as simple as the tutorial suggests?? I'm going to find out...

Holiday Decorating Ideas
This website has so many wonderful decorating ideas for fall and winter holidays I don't even know where to begin!

Animated Cards
I am in awe of this lady's talent and creativity! Check out her e-cards, I promise they're like nothing you've seen before...just click on a card to preview it.

German Chocolate Mini Cakes
So kind of dinner party desserts!

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