Crafting: Mother’s Day Cards

Happy Mother’s Day!! For Mother’s Day, we decided to make cards that weren’t your average store-bought cards – which is great because we tend to disagree about what type of card to get (sappy v. silly). When I found this spinner card, I knew immediately that we could agree on crafting this card.

Crafting Cards - Z wrote messages on two cards while I wrote messages on two cards

Crafting Cards – Z wrote messages on two cards while I wrote messages on two cards

However, I should really avoid crafting around this time of the year. With a ton of birthdays, Z in the middle of finals, and our seasonal allergies, my crafting took on an appearance that I can only imagine resembles the crafting of a mother who just realized that her child’s holiday party was two days away. It wasn’t pretty and there may have been pouting.

Finished card with envelope

Finished card with envelope

The directions for the project are on the free printable from Farouche Shop. My two variations were using paper fasteners (instead of brads) and larger envelopes ( 6″ x 9″). Despite the frustrations while crafting, I love these cards and I hope that the recipients love them as much as we do.

 

 

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FO: Big Sister Medal

After finishing the pink earflap hat and booties set, I realized that they would be a perfect fit for a couple that is expecting their second little girl. I started to knit up a cute rattle when I remembered what it was like for me when I became a big sister. When you become a big sister at around three or four years old, it’s like you have lost your audience. All the cute things that you do become eclipsed by the new baby and the cute things that the new baby does. That’s when I decided that being a new big sister deserves a medal.

Finished and big sister friendly

Finished and big sister friendly

I’m not too proficient in children’s cartoons these days, but I hear that one of the children’s cartoon characters has a badge/medal and this particular little girl is happy that she can be like that character.

My Ravelry Project Page: Big Sister Medal

Pattern: Military Medal Deux

Needles: Size 2 in dpns and straight needles

Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Alpacas Silk in White, Caron Simply Soft Solids in Plum Wine, Loops & Threads Impeccable Solids in Rogue, and random scrap yarn

Notions: Sticker with ribbon and pin clasp

Happy Holidays

For the first time in years, I didn’t take a photo of our Christmas cards.  We only sent out a limited number of cards this year – so if you didn’t receive one, let this be your Christmas card from us.

Happy Holidays!!

FO: Baby Hedgehog Rattle

Some dear friends are expecting their first child and I decided that they needed a cute knitted hedgehog rattle.

Softest hedgehog rattle ever!

Softest hedgehog rattle ever!

Ravelry Project Page:  Baby Hedgehog

Needle Size: 3 and 7

Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk (white), Plymouth Earth Hillside Linen (gray), & Queensland Collection Bebe Cotsoy (lime)

FO: Holla Holla Back Tank

A years ago, I started knitting the Holla Back Tank from Holla Knits.

The front of the tank was finished in a few weeks, but the lace back completely threw me for a loop.  When I finally started knitting the lace again, I realized that I didn’t have enough yarn to finish the top and that the yarn was discontinued (lesson learned).

Once I started knitting the lace again (after a year-long break), everything made sense.  The lace pattern was easy to memorize and was a perfect distraction during lunch breaks.  Before I knew it, the lace was finished – without the frustration from before.  Sometimes, you just need a little break from a project to make everything fall into place.

This project required blocking – due to the lace.  The blocking was quick and the seaming was painless.  After seaming, I altered the pattern by using an i-cord bind off around the neck and arms.  It was very quick and I think it gives the piece an elegant look.

I’ve already worn it out – and most people don’t realize that it’s handmade!

Ravelry Project Page: Holla Holla

Yarn: Shibui Knit Socks in Lily (021)

Needle Size: 5

Experimenting with Mason Jar Salads

During the summer, I crave salads of all kinds. Discovering the trend of Mason Jar Salads or Salad in a Jar was like a godsend for my summer work lunches. These have been all over Pinterest lately. They caught my attention because they looked like an effective way to bring an interesting salad without having a lunchbox full of separate containers for each ingredient. — So, I had to do an experiment to see if these salads in a jar would actually work.

One of my mason jar salads

One of my mason jar salads

I didn’t go out and buy mason jars. I live in the South and I’m crafty – I just used spare mason jars that I had hiding out in my kitchen. A lot of blogs posts about these salads marvel at how cheap these jars are. Yes, you can get a dozen for approximately $10.00 – but make sure that you pick up a set with both jars and lids. From my experience, the jars and the lids are usually sold separately.

Most of the salad in a jar recipes called for quart mason jars. Using a quart mason jar for a salad just seemed like a little much to me (that is 4 cups of salad!); instead, I used pint mason jars (only 2 cups of salad). After eating my very filling mason jar salads, I cannot imagine having a quart jar full of salad for lunch.

From jar to bowl - and only two cups

From jar to bowl – and only two cups

I made each of my salads the night before but supposedly, these can be made days in advance if you layer correctly. Based on my experiment with these salads, I would only make a lot in advance if you have very fresh ingredients.

How to Layer Your Jar Salad

The key to these salads is to keep the greens separate from the liquid or dressing. The Skinny Mom’s Kitchen suggests giving the jar a quick wipe with a paper towel and completely drying all ingredients before you start to assembly (to reduce the liquid in the jar). Try to not get the dressing on the sides of jar – or your salad will wilt before you eat it.

This helped me a lot in making my salads in a jar.

The basic layering of the salad in the jar is dressing, hearty bits, lighter bits, and greens on top. The Paleo Mama blog suggested that cut tomatoes should be at the bottom of the jar due to their higher water content — which worked perfectly! Whatever you put near the dressing, be prepared to have it marinated in the dressing. I had to push my cut tomatoes into the dressing to get enough lettuce for a healthy salad. A few blogs have the lighter bits (such as nuts, seeds, or cheese) on top of the greens, but I like the look of having those ingredients just below the greens.

None of the blog posts that I found mention cutting your greens prior to putting them into the jars.  However,  if you cut your greens, then you can put more into the jar and get a fuller salad.

Once you finish layering your jar, you store it up-right in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat it.

My Experiment Experience

By using the pint jars, I didn’t have any difficulty in getting the jars to stay up-right in the commute to work. The pint jars are small enough to fit into a lunch bag and still have room in the bag for dessert.

I didn’t notice any texture or flavor issues. By making the salads each night, nothing stayed too long in the dressing. I didn’t have any issues with the bacon but I made sure to place it closer to lettuce than the dressing. I like chewy bacon and my bacon seemed to stay chewy.

I didn’t use any recipes for my salads. I just layered whatever sounded interesting each day. Of my more interesting combinations, I ended up with a caesar turkey club and southwestern turkey salad.

My favorite part of these salads is pouring them out into a bowl at lunch. Due to the layering, the salads look like something you would get at a restaurant. It wouldn’t be impossible to eat the salad out of a wide mouth jar but I prefer eating it out of a bowl. To ease the hassle of carrying two containers for your salad, you could buy some paper bowls to keep at work.

Absolutely delicious!

Absolutely delicious!