Thursday, May 8, 2014


Now, don't get the wrong idea.  I'm new to this blogging adventure, so I'm going the safe route -- I'm blogging about the stuff I do that other folks think up! :)  Maybe in a month, I'll have something uniquely "me" to post, haha.  

So, I had heard of Crochet-A-Longs (CAL) before, but just never tried them.  Not sure if I was afraid or lazy, but I let them go by on my Facebook feed without a thought.

Then, one caught my eye.  At the end, I'd have *24* 12" blocks if I stayed true to the program!  Now that's a nice, big blanket!  I like the idea of something that's more than eye-candy.  I like things that serve purpose too.  To make matters even better, I already had some yarn I could use for my mom (see the Mandala).  The website promised that the blocks wouldn't take long, so I decided to make two of these afghans.

The CAL I bravely chose is conducted by the Moogly website.  They are on block #9 now, so I am starting my sharing a bit late.  But, like tea, waiting a little just makes it that much better!  

P.S.  Sweet tea is wonderful stuff!

So, the Moogly CAL began with a rather neat first block call Anticipation.  If you visit the Ravelry website using the link in the block name, you will see lots of examples of this block in tons of lovely color combinations.  It's also a free download, another great bonus!

The sample block is very pretty.  So, I set out to make the block for my  mom using the sunflower colors I chose long ago.  I very carefully planned out colors so that it'd not be the strangest block ever seen, and started the block.  I got lost on the surface crochet (which is white in the above picture), but the author graciously provided a picture tutorial which got me past my brain freeze.

After I made one block in my sunflower colors, I made a second block in a different color pathway.  This one, I decided to not plan in advance and just kinda did what "felt good".  It still turned out okay!  I think I made it 2 or 3 weeks later, when I finally decided I really could do two of these afghans.  Originally, this block was trying enough that I thought maybe that would be too much.  But I gained some confidence and mushed on with two different color pathways.  

So, I introduce the Anticipation block as Sunflower Parade (left below) and Go Team! (right below)

Hrm, still not sure why my block are so far apart, haha.  I really like how different they are.  You can tell they are the same block, but one looks almost like a negative of the other.  It's awesome.

I do have to admit that I'm not a big fan of the surface crochet.  It made the squares tricky to block to the full 12 inches, but now that I'm looking back I'm okay with them.  

Just for reference, the Sunflower Parade color pathway is made using Caron One Pound yarn in Soft Sage, Sunflower, Expresso, and another green whose sleeve I've lost.  ._.  The Go Team color pathway uses Caron One Pound in Midnight Blue and White.  The orange is actually Carrot by Red Heart Super Saver.

I bravely bought two more color pathways, but I've since decided to do something else with them.  One is a clearance buy from Joann's Fabrics that I didn't realize was cotton instead of acrylic!  I want to do something really special with that yarn, but no idea what yet.  The other color pathway is busy in a work-in-progress that may be with me until I die!  LOL  Maybe I can finish it just to have something to post. :D

Anyway, I think this CAL is turning out to be really fun.  It may not be ideal for a brand new crocheter as some of the blocks do have some challenging stitches, but who knows?!  You may rock it anyway.

I hope this inspires you!  God bless you and enjoy! :)

Many blessings,

Proverbs 31:13  New American Standard Bible (NASB)
13 She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

DIY Fruit Tray

Back in February, on impulse, I bought a copy of Woman's Day magazine.  The little green circle on the front screamed "Only $2.79" which fits better in my ever-tightening budget than the $6.99 and $7.99 of other magazines.  Inside was an article entitled "So-Simple Tiered Tray".  The minute I saw it, I thought of how nice it would be to make and clean up the counter where I keep multiple bowls of fruit.

Now, I didn't care much for the rustic look of the metal trays she used, so I set out to find some stuff at the Dollar Tree.  I did find the candlesticks there, but I couldn't find any graduated sized plates that weren't glass.  Since I still have young children *and* I'm a touch clumsy, I decided glass would be a bad idea.  

<shudders at the thought of bajillions of glass shards skittering across the tile in the kitchen>

After a bit more searching, I found some plates in Big Lots for $1.50 each, in various sizes.  I decided a bowl on top would be nice to corral smaller fruits.  I liked the look of the candlesticks unpainted, so I went wild and made my own tiered tray.

I'm pretty happy with it!  At left is the tray empty, and right is with fruit.  I especially love the little kiwi on top that looks like it's standing up!  Haha.  But, one big problem emerged. This tray is simply not big enough for the amount of fruit we consume.  As you can see, there's no room for apples. :( 

So, off to the store again and this time I decided to show my steps.  I did things a little differently than the article's writer.  Mainly because I didn't really want to use the Gorilla Glue!  My hubby had a hard time getting the cap off when he needed.  No way was I getting the cap off without his help.

So, here's my take on it.  

3 graduated size trays (plates, bowls, platters, cake pans, etc.)
2 candlesticks, any size or shape
E6000 glue
Patience :D


Pardon the picture layout.  I'm not sure what Blogspot is doing.  ._.  These pictures must've been naughty because they are each in their own corner. :P

I learned the hard way from my first tray that the best thing to do when using E6000 is to give it 24 hours to sit.  I moved my first tray a few hours later and it just came apart.  So, this is a multi-day process for me.  If you have good luck with E6000 in shorter time frames, go for it!  Humidity down here in the south may simply extend drying times.

So, after eye-balling the trays and candlesticks for a while, I decided I wanted them upside down like on my first tray.  They look a little less like candlesticks to me and was pleasing to my eye.  Do a dry run with your candlesticks and trays to see what you like.  After I made my decision, I glued the candlesticks to the bottom of each smaller tray first.

The picture at the right shows the E6000 a bit gooped up on the edge, but that's because I was trying to squeeze that tube and take a picture at the same time!  When you smash the glued side down onto the plate, it seems to even out, and isn't terribly noticeable (see picture on left).  My other edges were much cleaner.  I simply eye-balled the centers, so mine are a touch off, but you could mark yours with light pencil marks if you prefer something even. 

Anyway, I let that sit, candlestick side up, for 24 hours.  I then glued the middle sized tray to the bottom tray, roughly eye-balling the center of the big tray.  Luckily, the big tray had an ever-so-slight indention in the middle, so I used that as best I could.  Again, I let that sit for 24 hours.  Actually, I completely forgot about it and it sat for 3 days. 

I finally added the smallest top tray.  No indention to help this time, though.  I also decided to take a picture of where the pieces are glued together.  As you can see, the glue is clear, so it's very hard to see if you gooped it up, or did it perfectly.  

There are probably prettier candlesticks out there for a project like this, though they may be more than the $1 I paid to get mine.  The trays were bought at Winn Dixie in their seasonal section.  I think I paid $6.99 for the big tray, and $3.99 for each smaller tray.  It's likely too seasonal-looking to keep out year round.  What I'll probably do is keep an eye on Hobby Lobby and when they clearance out after seasons end, I'll get more then.  

Or, I'll get a burr in my saddle and go buy them on the 50% off sale with my 40% off coupon!  Who knows?  Maybe the thrift stores will finally have something I can use.  

I'm happy with it anyway, and both trays side-by-side hold way more fruit and take up way less space than the army of bowls I was using before.  I don't have pictures, but they are currently holding bananas, apples, and avacadoes. And since it's almost summer, they feel very "current".  

I hope you are inspired to try this yourself!