Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ocean Play Mat

My little nephew is really into animals of all kinds. I think he'll either be a vet or work in a zoo (or be a zoo vet!) when he grows up. I made him this 'ocean' mat for his sea animals. The wiggly pieces are supposed to be waves. The whole thing is made from felt. I found the penguins, manatees and belugas at Tuesday Morning.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fingerless Mittens

These come from a recent issue of Crochet Today. In fact, they are on the cover, in yellow yarn. I used what I had on hand. They went together quickly, although I did have to pull out a few rows to get them to fit my hands. 
What really surprised me was how easy the cables were to crochet! Now I want to make something with this same design, again. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Little Bird

Why, yes, I am writing this at 12:17 a.m. EST. I'm tired but I don't want to go to bed yet. Anyway, here's a little bird I made from Paperclay and glitter:

I can see a spot where I need to add extra glitter, and I'd like to put eyes on him. There is a hole through him for a ribbon or gold cord, as he is an ornament.

Most of my Christmas decorations are down from the attic. I unpacked boxes today but have not yet set out anything, although I did hang up my wreaths. I'll be working on the decorating over the next few days.

I hate it when Thanksgiving comes early. It doesn't feel right to put Christmas things out when it is still November.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Snowman Favor

This is made with a small canning jar, felt, and garland. I bought dimensional paint for the eyes but did not like how it came out of the bottle, so I just used a cotton swab to make the face. There's felt on the jar lid, which helps the styrofoam head stick a little better. I'm making a few of these and will fill them with candy for the kids who come to my Christmas Eve party.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Easy Dog Ornament

You can either use a photo of your pup to trace a silhouette, or get a picture from the internet. This is a chihuahua, like my Shadow Dante! It is made from two layers of felt glued together. I traced a little bit in from the edge with glue and added glitter, then filled in the rest with glue/glitter. Super, super easy!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Christmas Pillow #2

This one is crocheted. I think it will have a dark green border, and that the back will be made of cloth.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Christmas Pillow #1

A patchwork of ribbon, cotton and corduroy. I used the insert from another pillow. The cover of that one, which was too dirty to clean again, turned into a bed-bag for Rocky the Ferret.
Just a smidgen of hand-sewing needed here, hence the needle in the green patch.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Generator Crafting

This is one of the projects I have been working on this past week, mostly by lights powered by the generator, or by sunlight. It is a jacket for a baby boy. It will have a button front when it is finished and is supposed to fit 3-6 months. 

It's from a book called "Crochet in a Day for Baby." I really think someone who sets her/his mind to it could do this in a day. I did a bit at a time. The original is green and white, but I liked these colors together.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hurricane Cooking

If you want to know the rest of the story, besides killing time with crafts and crochet, you can visit my other blog. Meantime, here we go.

Sorry there are no pictures. I don't feel like it right now. Tired and maybe coming down with a cold. But it's been too long since I posted!

Okay, so...earlier in the Fall I had purchased a magazine from Taste of Home about "Ultimate Freezer Cooking." I made a few of the recipes and froze some small casseroles.

You don't know how great those have come in this past week! We've been without power, and even with a brand-new generator I still can't cook in the house. (Too much of a drain on the genny.) So we've been making big use of the barbecue.

Since my chest freezer doesn't get power from the generator (it's too far away from the source) many things are thawing out. Luckily, I didn't have much in the way of meat in there, and pretty much was able to salvage most of it.

I've been transferring the casseroles into a metal 9X11 pan and cooking them on the grill. We've had baked cavatelli (think, baked ziti with a different pasta) and Pesto Parmesan chicken. Chili mac is another upcoming meal. I also have some pulled pork to cook.

The East coast was hit two years in a row by hurricanes. The last serious one I remember was back around 1984! Will it happen again next year? I don't know, but I do know I'm going to start making and freezing casseroles again. If we aren't hit, no loss as they will be winter dinners. And if we are, we'll be ready--provided we remember to fill the propane tank for the grill, LOL!

If you've read this far, maybe you'll appreciate this caveat:

You know the trick where you line a casserole with foil, freeze the casserole, then lift it out? So you can put it back in the casserole when you're ready to cook? It doesn't work if the food thaws out...and you pick the damned thing up and it opens...

You get the picture. A lovely mess to clean up in the bottom of the freezer. Next year, I'll put the foil package in another, plastic bag!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Reading

If you like scary books, you might like to read one of the books I wrote, available now as e-books on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble for the Kindle and Nook. There is a special deal on Amazon for just a few weeks (I think until the first week of November) where the books are only 99 cents! That means you can get 3 books for the regular price of one, but for a very limited time!

Here's the link to  "Cries of the Children":

Monday, October 22, 2012

Yummy easy casserole

I'm not sure if this is the official "Tater Tot" casserole, but it was so easy to make I thought I'd finally get around to posting here. (I'm not very encouraged to post as I get so few responses. Special 'his' to "Crownring" and Maryann.)

Anyway, here it is:

About a pound and a half of browned ground beef. I already had this ready to go in the freezer.

A can of golden mushroom soup

About a cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Tater Tots

Set oven on 350

Mix the beef with the soup. Put it in a greased (Pam'd) casserole. I used one that is about 8 x 10, but you could spread it thinner.

Put cheese on top.

Put Tater Tots over the top.

Cook 45 minutes with a cover, then take off cover and cook 15 more minutes. I like my casseroles to hit at least 140 degrees before I take them out.

My husband had two helpings! Me...only 1 since I'm trying to keep from gaining back the weight I lost. But I did steal an extra Tot...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Halloween in the works

Here are some crafts  I'm working on. The pumpkin on the striped thing will be a tassle. The other guys will have bodies, eventually.
Pumpkin for tassle is made from Paperclay. So are the goofy-looking black cat's ears. This stuff is so much fun!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Someone Else's Creativity

You know those cute hearts you learned how to weave for Valentine's Day from colored paper? This site goes waaaaay beyond that. Holy Cow! Check it out:

Not sure I'd have the patience!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Red Baby Hat

This is a knitted red hat that could fit a baby or a toddler. The 'brim' is a basket weave and the crown is a simple garter stitch. I might crochet a snowflake for the side, like one of those flowers you see on cloches.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rag Rug

First, I just noticed I have 23 followers. Awesome! Hi, Everybody!

Okay, here's an ongoing project. I work on it as I get the 'yarn'--that is, as I get t-shirts to cut up. Once it's big enough, I'll probably use it on my office floor.

It is made with a "Q" hook. I'm having a lot of fun with it!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

No Hassle Tassle

This is made from a cleaned-out K-cup. It was very easy to do, but if a kid wanted to do it I would definitely have an adult punch the hole through the top. The plastic is hard.

It's hard to see, but I painted the cup and added some glitter

Basically, all you do is gather up a bunch of colors of yarns, ribbons or strings and cut them double the length you'd like. These yarns are about 16 inches long.
Double them up and tie them in the middle with some wire. Poke both ends of the wire up through the hole. Then poke the wire through a bead then a button. Twist it up at the top.
I would add some little beads along the wire to hide the wires, but as anyone who follows this blog knows (all 3 of you), I work with what I have on hand!

Couldn't you just see some jingle bells added to this for a cute musical toy (for a kid who doesn't put things in his mouth, that is!)?

PS--I took this shot with a freebie app on my phone called "Retro Camera." Look it's a blast!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Red Hats

Even though I'm working on learning the circular knitting thing, I'm always happier just plain flat knitting. So finding a hat pattern to play with on regular needles is awesome. This is adapted from the September issue of Creative  Knitting --'adapted' because my yarn started doing weird things, but the pattern still looked nice enough. The original is a more even rib.
It is worked with bulky (size 5) yarn on size 9 needles. You knit for 7 inches then start to decrease--finally gathering up the top and just sewing down the side. Because the 'flat' part is 7 inches, I'm doing an inch a day on the second hat. For this one, I've 'created' my own pattern--a basket weave 'brim' worked over 60 stitches (the original calls for about 75; I'm experimenting here)--alternating 6 purls and 6 knits for the first six or so rows, then reversing this for another six rows. The rest will be garter stitch. I'm lazy that way.This is a super-fast hat to make, especially with the use of bulky yarn. It's a great pattern for charity work.

Friday, August 10, 2012

More Crochet Bits

I love pretty storage things. I made myself some containers to hold buttons. One for each color. (I also made a neutral one and I still have to make a purple one.) 
I didn't realize it sort of looks like the Olympic rings. I guess that's appropriate this week!

Each one has a different 'stitch,' so it was a fast and fun way to practice some techniques!
PS--I also think little cups like these would make a fun sorting game for kids!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Bit of Crochet

I have several 'big' projects in the works, but it's nice to make these quick little things, too. Very satisfying to finish a project in a day. This is a holder for earphones. It is only about 3 inches by 2 inches. 

I didn't have a button that was big enough, so I used a yo-yo instead!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Child's Chef Set

I made this little chef's hat and matching apron this week. I think it would fit a 3-6 year old.  It's from the second One Yard Wonders book.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tote Bag

Here is a tote bag I made from a pattern in the "One Yard Wonders" book. (The original version doesn't have a lining.)

Here it is folded up:

I love the Kitty Cat fabric!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gift for a young friend

A friend's daughter, aged 14, told me her favorite colors were hot pink, turquoise and purple. With that in mind, I'm making her a hat and scarf set. The hat is done, the scarf is about halfway there. The trick with the scarf is counting the stitches to keep it even! I can't tell you how many times I've had to frog it 'cause it was lopsided! But, I think she'll like it (it's a Christmas gift) so the effort is worth it.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Take Along Chalk 'Board'

I had some remnant canvas (I think it's meant to make outdoor cushions) hanging around, and I saw this idea in a magazine (either Country Woman or Country Living). This is my adaptation:

I painted the fabric with chalk paint (Martha Stewart), then folded up the top and bottom. Instead of futzing around with mitering, I just used some pretty duct tape on the sides. I also used the tape to attach the ribbon tie. Here it is rolled up:

Something easy and cute for a kid to take to a restaurant or use on a road trip!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Jar Pin Cushion

I've seen these around the net and thought they were kind of cute. It was pretty easy to make. I just used my larger yo-yo maker for the circle.
I am using mine for buttons I'll use on yo-yos. Here, I've got pins in the pincushion, but I will probably use it instead for threaded needles.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Handbag Tryout

This is from one of the "One Yard Wonders" books. I just used what I had on hand--not crazy about the fabric, which came with a package deal from "Tuesday Morning." But now that I realize I really like the style, I'm going to make a nicer one with fabric I like. I'll use interfacing to give it some 'body,' too. This one is soft. I'll probably just use it to store something.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I have a lot of cute old spools and don't know what to do with them all. I saw this idea somewhere or other and copied it. It's just 3 spools glued to a plaque. I've been kicking it around my office for months because I never remember to get the picture hanger hardware. So I got the idea to use the binder clips. Not so pretty, but at least they match the black paint.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Clothespin Apron

I made one of these last year, but I have no idea where I put it! It's from "One Yard Wonders" and is very easy to make. (Obviously, I used two fabrics here, but the original pattern is all one fabric.)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Afghan for my Mom

I've been working on this for a long time--years, in fact--and I hope to have it completely done soon. My mother's 90th birthday is next year and I think she'd like this for a room she has decorated with clowns. (It has a red leather couch!) All I have to do is weave in some ends (been doing that a little at a time) and add the rest of the border. It's just double crochets, one round of each color in the blanket.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Learning to knit in circles

After several false starts, I think I've finally gotten the 'gist' of knitting on circular needles! There is a big rule that you want to make sure your cast on stitches never twist. If they do, you end up with this weird figure-8 thing you can't fix. I thought I had that 'down,' until I got to about the 10th round and saw the twist. Grrrr! I had been SO careful! Now I realize that when you are casting on circular needles, you can't be distracted. You might think everything's going in the same direction, but there will be that one rogue stitch that will totally mess you up!
So when I cast on this one, I checked every two or three stitches. Success!

This isn't any particular project. I am just practicing the technique. It's too small for a hat and the wrong color for a baby. (Could be for a doll, though.) I might just make it into a little pouch. 
I have also learned how to cast onto double-pointed needles, but that's another post!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lil Punkins

A bit of "Halloween in July" (explaining the Patriotic things in the background.) 
The biggest one can be either a lollipop cover or a fridgie. It's from an old issue of a crochet magazine. Then I was inspired to take my new knowledge of ball-making and create two little pumpkins! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jammin' Today

I made strawberry jam this morning. I also made a mess, but that's par for the course with me. The strawberries came from BJs and were very beautiful--totally red. (They were also the cheapest ones I've found so far.) If you want sweeter strawberries, you don't want any white on the tips. They should be red all over. White on the tips means they were picked too soon and not allowed time to ripen!

Not sure why, but the strawberries are floating on the top. No matter, it still tastes flipping good.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Have a Ball! (Or Four!)

 The littlest ball here is a little bigger than a quarter. It starts with only 2 rounds!

I figured out the 'math' for making a crocheted ball. Okay, I figured it out for my own self. Experts probably already know. It's actually 'stupid easy.' If you can crochet in the round, you can make a ball.

I start with two chains, then do six single crochets in the second chain from the hook.
Next round is two scs in each sc, so you end up with 12.

Round 3: two scs in one sc, then 1 sc  (2+1 around) You'll end up with 18

Round 4 : two scs in one sc, then 1 sc and 1 sc (2+1+1 around until you reach 24.)

Okay, so let's say this is as far as you. You have four rounds.
You'll now crochet 4 more rounds of 24.

Then you'll start decreasing. You want to go from 24 back down to 18, so you need to lose 6 stitches. You added them when you did 2 scs in 1 sc. Now you'll crochet 2 scs together, then do  a single and a single. (2 together+1+1, which gives you 3) Keep count until you get to 18.

From 18, you reduce to 12. So you'll crochet 2 together, then 1. (This is where I put the stuffing in, but you can do it at any point that is easy for you.)

Finally you're back to 6 again. Simply crochet 2 together all the way around. Fasten off, leaving a long tail. Weave the tail through and pull it tight. Weave in the ends.

The math is basically this: however many rounds you make, you will continue with that many even rounds before reducing. Five rounds will give you 30 stitches around. So you'll do five more rounds of 30 stitches, then you'll start reducing. Just remember you want to lose 6 stitches each round.

Okay, so maybe not so 'stupid easy,' but once you get the gist of it, you'll be able to crank out crocheted balls by the dozens!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Little Project

Here is a little decorated box I made with materials I had already. The box  is made of stiffened felt. I just fudged a pattern for it. It put the lace around the sides to hide the corners. (Doesn't help with the inside box piece, but who's looking at that?) The pompom had a black stripe, so a bee seemed appropriate. His wings are felt. The yo-yos represent flowers. the whole thing measures about 3 x 2 by 1.5 inches (ht.).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Sweater for the Fall

I've made all the components for a new fall sweater. I'll sew it together some time around September. It's hard to tell from the photo, but it crosses in the front and is made of bulky yarn.

Obviously, I not only have to sew up the pieces, but I have some 'loose ends' to weave in, as well!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Creative Daughter

Here is a picture my daughter made of the dock at Northport (near where we live). I knew she liked to sketch, but had no idea she was this talented! Her dad was impressed, too, and loved his Father's Day Gift!
It's in a black frame with a black mat and really looks like Northport!

Friday, June 15, 2012

2 Down, 1 on Hold

I finished the knitted slippers. They came out a little big, so I will reduce the amount of rows in the next pair. I've already started those, in red!
The patriotic quilt is on hold for a bit, as I ran out of the wide red binding I'm putting around it and won't be at a fabric store for a while. But once I get another package, it will be a quick finish!

This pattern, btw, is from "How to Knit Slippers" by Janis Websdale. I have it on my Nook but am not sure if it is available as a 'hard copy.'

Thursday, June 14, 2012

One down, 2 to go

Here is the finished scarf! It's so nice to have a Christmas gift done when it isn't even July! (BTW, my friend had both of her knees replaced yesterday, so any and all prayers for her are welcome! She's been in pain for years so I hope this helps her!)

The pattern is very simple. It just alternates regular double crochet rows with rows of criss-crossed DCs! The yarn is Washable Ewe, a wool that you can actually put in the wash!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Weekly Craft Goal

I have a bazillion projects in the works, but once in a while I make an effort to actually finish something! This week, I've set the goal of finishing a pair of knitted slippers, a scarf for a friend (Christmas gift) and my patriotic quilt! I'm still doing the wips, but setting my mind to completing a few projects means I'll get at least one of them done!
The scarf is my own design, but the slippers came from an inexpensive e-book called "How to Knit Slippers." It's a pretty easy pattern, so any screw-ups are my own--like mixing up my purls with my knits. But they fit and they're cozy so I don't really care what they look like. I might make another pair as a gift, taking care to make them 'right' this time, LOL!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day

Special thoughts to all those troops  who have passed. Thanks to my grandpas, my dad, my uncles, and my brother!

 Northport, NY 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Nine-Patch in the works

I made the 9-patch part of this a year ago, after buying some 'end of the season' fabric. This year, I took it down from the attic and cut it up, then sewed it back together again. As you can see, some of the pieces didn't line up. But the solution is easy--I'm just going to add some big star appliques to create the illusion I knew what I was doing.
This won't be done by Memorial Day, but I sure hope to have it finished by the Fourth of July, so I can hang it over the back of my couch.

I am linking over to Terri's Blog (Hearts in Service) for her Friday "Crafty Things." Check out her cute stuff!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Another Apron

Can you ever have enough? Actually, I only have the fabric put together to make one. As you might be able to see from the photo, I have sewn the pieces wrong sides together rather than right. Why? Because then the piece is 'finished' in the back. All  you have to do is lay some pretty trim over the raw seams on the front!

Friday, May 18, 2012


Finally learned how to use Pinterest! I only have a few pictures pinned, but if you visit just look me up at "C l a re P as t o re"--no spaces. I'm not sure if it's true, but I've read that 'bots' scan these posts.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Covered Cookbooks

I was at the dentist with Nick today and saw an idea in a magazine that I liked: a set of books covered to  look like a set (even though they were different titles). Expensive, too: over $100 for five or so books. I'll hit the library for my classic novels, thank you very much.
But it got me thinking of the mess of recipes and cookbooks* I have. So, I got out some good-quality wrapping paper I'd bought a long time ago. It's a little heavier than what you'd usually buy and actually came in a kind of 'book.'
*Okay, I really don't have  a mess of cookbooks. I have three since I give them away. I don't buy them often because I don't see the point of paying $15 or more for something that's going to give me 4 recipes I like. So here are the three, nicely wrapped like pretty schoolbooks. If I can find more of my fancy paper, I'll make a binder to match for all the loose recipes:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Little Containers

Here are some containers I've made recently. This photo shows them partially done, but I've finished them since. The taller small container comes from "Crochet to Go Deck" by Alicia Bergin and Julie Toy. The other small one is the same pattern, only I forgot to count and kept making the rounds bigger, so I ended up with a cute little bowl, LOL!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Baby Dress

Here is a little pink baby dress that I crocheted. It comes from Crochet Today Baby and Kids Book, Spring 2012. (It's actually a magazine, not a book.) It actually went together pretty quickly. Sorry for the dark photo. It's hanging in a closet in my crafts room.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Little Owl

Here is a little owl I made from a free pattern I found online (link below). He was originally going to be a Valentine's Day owl, explaining his red color and pink wings. I think I'll attach a little flag to him in July and make him patriotic, LOL!

Don't you just love the "Betty Boop" eyes? 

Here's a link to the site where you'll find the pattern:

Monday, April 30, 2012

Apron from Dishtowel

I had bought a screen-printed dish cloth from "Oh, Little Rabbit" on Etsy a while back. I think I saw it originally in Country Living Magazine and fell in love with the Mason Jar design on it. (Was is it about  Mason/Ball jars that makes them so awesome?)
I used it as a dish towel originally bought thought it was too cute for just that, so I turned it into an apron. I simply held the towel up to myself and marked where I wanted to cut it away for a good length. That extra piece, after some more cutting, became the waistband. I used some scrap fabric for the ties. Since the towel is finished on all sides, the only sewing involved was the waistband!
Now I have a nice new apron that is also great for hand-drying!
Here's the link to the site:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Remnant Pillow Makeover

I love the remnant rack! It's especially cool for finding bargains on home dec fabrics. I picked up this floral piece a while back. I simply folded it over and sewed up the sides, finished the open edge, and added some ribbons. Then I covered one of the throw pillows on my couch. Instant, and cheap, room brightener! (And all I have to do next fall is untie the ribbons and take it off!)

I'm linking to "Crafty Things," a friday carnival at my friend Terri's blog:

Go see the awesome creativity there!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How I do my "To-Do" List

Below is my Crafting To-Do List.  Instead of checking things off, I simply pick a color each day and change to that color as a job is done. Today's color is pink, so you can see I've got two things done.
Any work on a project  counts--a row, a round, or simply pinning something or recording information. The part about the blouse is from a few days ago, but this morning I pinned the waistband on an apron I'm making.
Slow and steady wins the race, and just doing a little each day is encouraging. I don't even worry about covering everything. Frankly, I'm having some shoulder and elbow problems so I don't want to go overboard with the knit and crochet stuff; although, I admit, I did 8 rows last night on a pair of slippers I've recently started. And slept with a heat pad...

I see that I have numerous people who view my blog, so why are there no comments? Even a 'hi' is enough!

DAILY Crafting

1. Unravel
2. Afghan
3. Baby
4. Ami
5. Sewing--blouse requires 2.5 yds
6. Scarf
7. Circular Knit
8. Other knit
9. Newest
10. Weave in Ends
11. Roll yarn
12. Bulky Afghan

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another Garden Idea

Squirrels (or something else) ate the buds off my strawberry plants. When I bought another strawberry plant and a blueberry bush, I tried to pick up some netting at Wally World, but they didn't have any. Instead of hauling off to Home Depot's garden center, I made use of something I already had in the house--a bath scrubbie. You know if you cut the rubber band, they stretch out several yards? 
I had Mike cut off the pieces of metal that stick out of a tomato cage, which you would use to stick it into the ground. Then I turned the cage upside-down over my planters. I wrapped these with the netting. For the record, flipping the cages isn't my idea. I got it from a magazine. But, as far as I know, using bath scrubbie netting is!

We had a big rain/windstorm a few days ago. I was afraid my plants would blow away, but they held in place nicely!