Sunday, December 30, 2012

Crochet: Commuter Triangle Scarf

This chunky and dramatic triangle scarf is chic and modern.  It definitely makes a statement while keeping you ultra warm.

Stitch one up for yourself or a loved one.  Find the pattern here!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Etsy Treasury: Nerd Alert

A shout out for all my nerds out there...check it out here!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Crochet: Business Major Cowl

Color blocked fashions couldn't be more popular right now.  What better way to celebrate the trend than with a cozy accessory for winter?  This thick and warm cowl is stitched with a chunky brushed yarn in vibrant colors.  Make it your own in a palette of neon or jewel tones and get straight to the business of getting warm!

Find the pattern here!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Crochet: Art Major Slouchy Beret

Slouchy berets are a very popular fall/winter accessory.  They're easy, stylish, and quick to make.  So of course, I'm contributing my own version of a slouchy beret to the crochet community with this effortless hat.  Made with just enough slouch...not too little, not too much...and an interesting tweed yarn, this will easily become a favorite cold weather accessory!

Find the pattern here!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Etsy Treasury: Purples

Latest Etsy treasury items in my favorite color.  Go check it out here!

Crochet: All-Nighter Wrist Warmers

This is very simple pattern for the beginner crocheter who is ready to practice making ribbed fabric.  These wrist warmers are super quick to stitch up and make great gifts!

Pattern is available here!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Crochet: 21st Birthday Beaded Earrings

One of my favorite parts of college were the 21st birthday parties and outings.   This right-of-passage event is always fun and always memorable.  I wanted to create an earring that was just that.  I started with crochet thread and beads and knew it needed something else.  The answer was long and daring fringe.  The finished product is definitely club and dance-floor approved with a dramatic visual impact but light-weight wear.

Super quick and easy to make.  A great project to practice crocheting with beads!  
Pattern is available here!

Etsy Treasury: New Year's Eve

Adding some sparkle to your New Year, go have a look here!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial

T-Shirt Yarn is a great way to bring new life to an old tee.  Once morphed into t-yarn, the material lends a very sturdy and durable quality to your craft.  I used shades of greys and blues to make the tote bag you see to the left.  

T-yarn is so easy and quick to make that you'll soon be asking around for people's old t-shirts!  I've also used it to make a rug, belt, and coffee cup cozy.  Follow my step-by-step tutorial to make some t-yarn and get creative the DIY way!

Step 1. Start with cotton t-shirt that has no seams on sides.

Step 2. Cut off bottom strip and cut underneath armpit of shirt.

Step 3. Cut .5" wide strips up to the top while leaving about.5" uncut at the top.

What your piece should like after Step 3.

Step 4. Cut from left side diagnoally across to edge of first strip.

Step 5. Cut diagnoally from right side of second strip on bottom to the right side of the second strip on top (You're creating one continuous strip of material).

What your piece should look like during Step 5.

What your pieced should like after Step 5.

Step 6.  Continue Step 5 for each strip across.

Step 7. Cut diagonally up from the left side of the last strip.

You should now have one continuos strip of material that looks like this.

Step 8. Simply pull on your strip a little at a time for the entire length.

What your yarn will look like after Step 8.

Step 9. Roll it into a ball for future use.
Your t-yarn is ready to be made into something awesome!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Etsy Treasury: Cyclist's Wishlist

Fabulous gift items for your cycling enthusiast.  Check it out here!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Jeep Tire Cover

Last year I made this spare tire cover for my Jeep.  Wanting a unique piece, I immediately turned to crochet.  I had never seen a crocheted lace tire cover before and I wasn't exactly sure where to start.  

After searching for inspiration and coming up short I remembered a 19th century doily pattern that reminded me of wheel spokes that I had seen on Ravelry.  I loved the idea of taking such an old pattern (for a delicate doily nonetheless) and turning it into something very different from its intentions.  With some modifications to the pattern I was ready to get crocheting.

 I went to Home Depot and purchased a sturdy "all-weather" twine.  The kind salesperson assured me that it could take brutal weather hits.  And it did...through rain and snow it withstood.  It never discolored or grew mold.  It was perfect. But when summer arrived and the hot sun began beating down, the top of the twine began to fray where the sun's heat landed.  Stitches and stitches were literally disintegrating.  Upon discovering this after an afternoon run with a friend, there was nothing to do but pout and tear it off.

Never giving up, I've been brainstorming different materials to make it out of.  Right now my thoughts are with a hard plastic twine or a thin metal chain.  Time to go back to the drawing boards and get creative, because I'm determined to have another lace tire cover make a fabulous debut on my beloved Jeep.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Buff-tastic Cauliflower "Wings"

This vegetarian rendition of one of America's favorite foods is sure to satisfy.  I'm one of those vegetarians who never did like meat and doesn't even like "fake meats".  So I've always passed on the processed chunks of soy, tempah and seitan disguised to be meat.  I think the textures resemble actual animal flesh too closely, so I stay away.

That's why I love this recipe.  I think it is reminiscent of traditional buffalo wings enough to please omnivores and vegetarians alike.  And this happens because it is not trying to be a buffalo chicken wing but rather just some awesome cauliflower that has been buffalofied.  Oh and can we talk about how much less destructive it will to your diet?  One typical serving of buffalo chicken wings can range from 700-1200 calories and 40-60 grams of fat depending on the preparation. This recipe easily makes 4 large portions.  Each portion only being about 270 calories and 10 grams of fat.

With simple ingredients, this easy to prepare snack food will steal the show at your next party.  I've adapted it from The Curvy Carrot's version and PETA also has a great vegan version for those that don't do dairy.  Enjoy!


1 large head of cauliflower, chopped
1 cup of reduced fat buttermilk
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
1 cup of Frank's Hot Wings Buffalo Sauce
Blue Cheese Dressing (for serving)


1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, flour, garlic powder, and salt.

3.  Add cauliflower to bowl and completely coat all of the florets.

4.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and spread out the cauliflower.  Bake for 18 minutes.

5.  Combine butter and buffalo sauce.

6.  Take out cauliflower from oven and pour on buffalo sauce mixture.  Stir to completely coat all florets.

7.  Put back in oven and back for 6-8 more minutes.

Serve immediately with blue cheese dressing.

Etsy Treasury: Party Girl Gifts

Today's treasury list...Gifts for Party Girls.  Go take a look here!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Winter Running

Running has become one of my favorite forms of exercise this past year.  I assumed that once the weather got colder I would have to stop.  I've been trying various indoor exercises like using my Wii Fit, dancing, and running on the treadmill, but nothing is as satisfying as running outdoors.  I treated myself to a new jacket for winter running and hit the path.

I stopped by Neshaminy State Park and ran a 2 mile trail through the woods along the Delaware River.  The grey skies and bare trees seemed eerie at first, but as I went along I began to enjoy this familiar park through a different perspective.  My body warmed up quickly and I was relaxed by the still water and the silence of the park, helping me focus even more on my run.

I'm glad I braved the cold to keep running outside and I'm excited to get back into my outdoor exercise regimen. :-)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Jalapeno Cheddar Potato Soup

This hearty soup will become a go-to vegetarian comfort food for you and your family.  Substitute the yam and omit the potatoes for a lower carb option.  Get out your big stock pot for this crowd pleaser!

Jalapeno Cheddar Potato Soup: Serves 24 1 cup portions


1 container white button mushrooms
1 yam (substitute 3 carrots for lower carb)
1 sweet onion
7-8 jalapeno peppers (this makes it VERY hot, use less peppers or seed them first for less heat)
1 tablespoon minced garlic

6-7 potatoes (omit for lower carb)

Liquids and Dairy:
4 cups water
2 pints light cream (or heavy if preferred)
3 tablespoons butter
1 8oz. block of sharp white cheddar cheese
1 8oz. block of sharp yellow cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon thyme
1 teaspoon turmeric
salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
4 cubes of vegetable bouillon


Chop the mushrooms, peeled yam, onion, and jalapenos.  Melt butter in large soup pot and cook vegetables and garlic with all of the spices until very soft.

Meanwhile, peel and cut potatoes into bite size pieces and boil in separate pot until soft.  Drain.

Shred blocks of cheese.

Add 2 cups of water to the vegetable mixture (not potatoes yet) and thoroughly blend in blender or with immersion blender in pot.  After blended, add remaining 2 cups of water, cream, and cheese. Add potatoes. Stir and heat thoroughly.

Serve with bread and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts per 1 cup serving:
Calories: 220
Carbs: 11g
Fat: 16g
Protein: 5g
Fiber: 1g
Sugar: 3g

Etsy Treasury: Hipster's Wishlist

Today's for hipsters!  Go take a look here! :-)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Etsy Treasury: Getting Tribal

My most recent Etsy Treasury list.  Check it out here. :-)

Happy Accidents

One of my favorite things about crochet is the opportunity that serendipity offers.

This dress was a gift that I made on a whim for a friend.  It was one of the first garments I ever made without a pattern.

I connected the top to the waistband and only realized that I had twisted it afterwards.  Initially, I had the same reaction every other knitter/crocheter does when realizing a major mistake: screaming, crying, window breaking, fire breathing...ya know...the norm.

But with the help of a glass of wine I saw this as an opportunity for a cool feature for the dress.  Instead of cursing and unraveling,  I decided to use the twist to frame a keyhole in the back.  This little crocheted party dress just got kicked up a sexy notch.  That's right...SEXY crochet.

It is still one of my favorite impromptu pieces to date and I'm happy I was able to step back and see how my mistake could be transformed to an asset.  What "happy accidents" have you experienced while crocheting and knitting?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Obese is not a body shape.

Nerdy, but not fat yet.
Obesity is not just a problem for some Americans, it is a problem that touches everyone.  Chances are somebody you know and love has or is battling obesity.  I wasn't always fat.  I had an active childhood and ate my fruits and veggies.  Even with an obese mother and grandmother I never considered that I too could have weight struggles one day.  

It happened slowly.  I stopped playing sports when I was 15 to work more hours all the while never realizing those fun activities I enjoyed were preventing a serious problem.  I gained about 10 pounds a year in high tall 5'10" frame expanding from about 160lbs to 200lbs.  Truth be told I already felt like a blimp at 160lbs.  Of course that is nonsense.  My height and weight were perfectly normal...but try talking that sense into a 16 year old girl whose friends were 5'2" and 100lbs.  At the time I thought my shape was awful, but when I look back on those pictures all I see are full breasts and hips and a tiny waist.  A woman's hourglass figure on an adolescent.  My mother always tried telling me this...but what teenager wants to listen to their mom?

I went off to college thinking "I've got a bit of weight to lose".  No big deal.  There was a gym on campus, right?  Long story short...I rarely saw that gym.  I had a brief flirtation with it in my junior year.  I lost about 20 pounds, but it found its way back.  I developed some of the worst eating habits during those four years.  With a packed schedule of full-time classes, 3 jobs, and of course parties, I managed to swell up to 290lbs by my graduation.  I never ate breakfast, rarely ate lunch, and ate whatever I could get my hands (mouth?) on at night and went straight to bed.  Throughout college, I grew very comfortable with myself.  The insecure 16 year old was gone and I loved my womanly shape.  I knew I had weight to lose, but there was no sense of urgency.  I looked good in clothes, had a handsome boyfriend, gorgeous and kind friends, great flexibility and decent stamina.  There was no pressure to lose weight.

Now, I've been very blessed to have grown so tall.  Even at my recent top weight of 303lbs I was only wearing a size 22.  I've met women who weigh 50-70 pounds less than that and were the same size if not bigger than me.  My mother is still about 20 pounds lighter than me and yet four sizes bigger.  Even today as I write this at around 280 pounds, my waist is still 14 inches smaller than my hips.  Go figure.  

As the years went by and the number on the scale went up I started to notice a particular phenomenon.  When I mentioned wanting to lose weight to anyone I often received a response of "You should be proud of your body shape!  You need to learn to love it!" or, "You're beautiful just the way you are!", etc., etc.  This always confused me.  Did I say I wasn't proud of my body?  Did I say I didn't love it or that I think I'm not beautiful?  It is because I love my body and it is because I think I'm beautiful that I want to be as healthy as possible.  And being as healthy as possible does not include being obese.  It dawned on me that no matter how good I looked or felt, no matter how proportional my hourglass shape was, there is no reason for somebody (even a very tall somebody) to be 300 pounds.   

Fact of the matter is this: "obese" is not a body shape.  It should not be classified with the likes of apple, pear, and hourglass shapes.  It is a serious medical condition that shouldn't be something we need to "learn to love".  Obese, morbidly obese, and super obese people need to be respected and treated kindly like every other human deserves.  Yet we don't need to be treated as if the unfortunate situations we've found ourselves in are something to just be accepted and never properly dealt with. Yes, we need to be kind to ourselves too...the obese population should absolutely take pride in their bodies and not be ashamed.  However, that pride and self-esteem needs to lead to actions towards a healthier lifestyle, not just a complacent attitude of "I should just be happy with my obese body because that's who I am now".

Oh, did somebody say "actions"?  I must have been too busy daydreaming about cheese to hear that.  In all seriousness though, I have been taking action to bring down my own BMI.  I've spent the past two years since college graduation just trying to teach myself to eat breakfast.  Over the past four months I've lost 20lbs.  I started jogging (quite pathetically I may add) and attempting to eat smaller portions.  I'm actually getting a handle on this whole "lifestyle change" notion and I'm ready to kick it into the next gear.  

So today I'm sore from the exercise but excited that my grasp on what weight loss means to me is finally firm.

Weight is something I rarely talk about with anybody other than my best friends and fiance.  I know the judgements that happen when you can attach a number to a person.  I know because I've passed those judgements onto myself and others.   

I hope you'll stick around to read my ramblings and share in my triumphs and...less-than-triumphs, as I try to shake this oh, last 100 pounds or so.  ;-)


Here are some pictures documenting my slow and steady weight gain from 160lbs to 303lbs.  While it makes me sad, it is just as much a part of me and my journey as the trip back down

15 years old: 160lbs
16 years old: 170lbs
17 years old: 180lbs
18 years old: 190-200lbs
19 years old: 215lbs
20 years old: 230lbs
21 years old: 250lbs
22 years old: 290lbs
24 years old: My heaviest at 303lbs