September 2013 archive

Crochet Caps for a Cause Pattern

| Crafts & DIY, Crochet

Crochet Hat Pattern - great for beginners and to donate.

Crochet Beanie Pattern – great for beginners and to donate.

Crochet Caps for a Cause Pattern

Last week I had a new and exciting experience – I became a volunteer at our local hospital.  I originally created this blog to have a creative outlet but I had no idea the impact my readers would have on my life.  All the positive feedback and comments have helped me see that I have an opportunity and an obligation to give back.  

My new volunteer job is to create and deliver art and activities for the pediatric and geriatric wards and to make hats and blankets for the maternity and neonatal intensive care units.  I delivered my first big package of materials and hats last week and it felt so amazing to be able to contribute to this wonderful cause.

In honor of this new endeavor in my life, I’m including the pattern for what I’m calling my “Caps for a Cause” crochet beanie.  

This is a very quick and simple crochet pattern that even beginner crocheters can easily master. I crochet pretty slowly and I can make these hats in about 45 minutes (much less time for a preemie sized hat).

These crochet hats can be made in any size from preemie all the way to men’s large so this is a very versatile pattern.

READER CHALLENGE

I’d also like to extend a challenge for any of my readers who are so inclined to join me in this volunteer effort. Hospitals are in great need of caps for newborns, preemies, and cancer patients.  Crochet blankets, shawls, wash clothes and toys are also in high demand. Most hospitals have volunteer programs for receiving knitted and crochet goods so I encourage you to donate if possible – and please share your experiences with me in my comments section.

Crochet Caps for a Cause Pattern – download pattern.

Materials:

  • A soft medium weight yarn (50-70 yards) – I used Red Heart Soft. Choose as many different colors as you’d like.
  • Crochet Hook – US J10/6 mm. I used this larger hook size for the baby hats so that the hats were a little more airy and stretchy but feel free to use a smaller hook if you prefer.
  • Yarn or tapestry needle
  • Scissors

Basic Hat Directions:

Ch = chain, sl st = slip stitch, sc = single crochet, dc = double crochet (U.S.)

  1. Ch 5 and then join together into a ring with a sl st (keep all your stitches loose). Or use the magic ring method if you prefer.
  2. Round 1: Ch 2 and then make 12 double crochets into the ring. Join with sl st.
  3. Round 2: Ch 2 and then 2 dc into the same stitch. Now do 2 dc in each stitch around and then sl st to join.
  4. Round 3: Ch 2, 2 dc in the first stitch then 1 dc in the next and the repeat this pattern for the entire row. Sl st to join.
  5. Round 4: Ch 2, 2 dc in the next stitch then 1 dc in the next TWO stitches and repeat in this pattern for the entire row. Sl st to join.  (*Hats for preemie babies skip to step 7 – note that hospitals ask that hats for preemie’s be a little bit longer so that they can fold back the edge of the hat)
  6. Round 5: Ch 2, 2 dc in the next stitch then 1 dc in the next THREE stitches and repeat in this pattern for the entire row. Sl st to join. (*For larger hat designs you’d just keep increasing the number of stitches between each dc by 1 until you get the size you’d like. Example: the next row would be 2 dc in the next stitch then 1 dc in the next FOUR stitches, the next row would be 2 dc in the next stitch then 1 dc in the next FIVE stitches, etc…)
  7. Rounds 6-12: Ch 2, double crochet in each stitch and join with a slip stitch.  Continue this for each row until the hat is as long as you want it. (I usually do 6 rows for my baby hats)
  8. Final row, chain 1 and then sc in each stitch and slip stitch to join (keep this last row loose or else it will make the hat too tight at the bottom).
  9. Fasten off and weave the ends into the hat using your yarn/tapestry needle.

For the striped hat design just alternate different colors for each row (and add a third color in the second last row of dc’s if you’d like).  For the hat with the second color along the rim, change the color in your last row of dc’s and then keep that color for step 8. I really like having at least 2 colors in the hat design, it just makes it a little more exciting to look at and you can have fun coming up with contrasting colors.

To add the single woven thread through the hat, thread your tapestry needle with a piece of yarn about 24″ long. Starting at the back seam of the hat, weave in the yarn and tie in with a knot and then weave in and out of each stitch around one row. See photo below for exactly where you put your needle through to get the same design I’ve done. When you’re done the row fasten off and weave in any ends.

Looking for more great crochet patterns for babies: Easy Striped Crochet Baby Hat Pattern, Easy Done in a Day Baby BlanketBaby Bumps Blanket Crochet PatternPrimrose Baby Blanket Crochet Pattern and the Star Stitch Striped Baby Blanket.

Basic Crochet Hat Pattern - Perfect for donating to hospitals.

Basic Crochet Hat Pattern – Perfect for donating to maternity and neonatal intensive care units.

Update: Here’s the pile of hats that Noelle and I took to the hospital on New Year’s day… what a positive way to start off a new year.

Hat donations

Hat donations

 

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15 iPhone Tips and Tricks for iOS 7 You Need to Know

| Design & Technology

15 of the Best Tips and Tricks you should know for the iPhone

15 iPhone Tips and Tricks for iOS 7 You Need to Know

15 iPhone Tips and Tricks for iOS 7 You Need to Know – I’ve said it before, I love tech toys and gadgets – especially my iPhone and iPad. Recently I’ve learned a few new and very useful tricks about my iPhone that I didn’t know about and with the launch of Apple’s new operating system iOS 7 I thought it would be fun to discuss some new things you may not of heard about yet.

iPhone Tip #1: How to change Siri to a man’s voice

Looking for a man who hangs on your every word and who can answer all your questions?  Well, now you can give Siri a man’s voice. Simply go to Settings > General > Siri > Voice Gender.

iPhone Tip #2: How to multitask 

Who in this day and age doesn’t multitask.  I have to say this has always been a pet peeve of mine with the iPhone – I always got so frustrated turning off an app to open another.  Now you don’t have to, just double click the home button and you’ll be able to scroll through all your apps and see the last screen view you had of that app.  Another cool aspect of this multitasking feature is that you can close any apps that you don’t need in your list just by swiping them up.  This is great if you have tons of apps that you don’t use that often.Multitasking

iPhone Tip #3: New built-in ringtones

Seriously, does everyone use the Marimba ringtone?  Every time I’m in a store and hear the Marimba I see a dozen people all stop, reach in their purses or pockets and check their phones… its pretty funny actually. iOS 7 has given us a better ringtone selection and some really nice ones – great for using as alarm tones too.  You’ll find them in the same place as always: Settings > Sounds > Ringtones.  Oh and for all you die-hard Marimba folks out there don’t despair, you ringtone is still there under the “Classic” ringtone section.

iPhone Tip #4: New dynamic backgrounds

Now I just love these new backgrounds.  This is a new kind of wallpaper that brings very subtly designed backgrounds to life with slow and calming animation. These new backgrounds are called “Dynamic  Wallpaper”. Currently there are only a handful of designs to choose from but I’m sure Apple has great ideas for future designs.  To find dynamic backgrounds open up Settings > Brightness & Wallpaper > Tap on the wallpaper section > Tap on Dynamic > Select you wallpaper.Dynamic Wallpaper

iPhone Tip #5: New built-in vibrations or create your own

This is a fun new change I never even considered.  Now you can change your vibration to one of seven choices or you can create your own custom vibration.  To find this go to Settings > Sounds > Ringtones > Vibration (top of page).343

iPhone Tip #6: How to block callers

Where was this app last year when I was getting 3 calls a day from the same company trying to sell me something.  Now it’s easy to block spammers and marketers.  To block annoying calls or texts tap on the info circle next to the phone number you want blocked, and then scroll down the page until the very bottom and click on “Block this caller”.

iPhone Tip #7: Zoom while in video mode

Every time I used my video on my iPhone I would try in vain to zoom in but of course this feature didn’t exist until now. Finally Apple has listened to us. In video mode you’ll see a white slider bar.  Just slide you finger across the bar in order to zoom in while you’re recording your video… yeah!

iPhone Tip #8: How to turn your iPhone into a flashlight

Having trouble finding your keys in your purse at night?  Did the power go out in your house?  In one swipe you can turn your iPhone into a flashlight.  Open the control center by swiping the screen from the bottom upwards. The first icon on the bottom left is your flashlight – just tap the icon to turn it on and tap again to turn the light off.  You’ll also notice a few other easy access icons on the bottom of the control center including your timer/alarm/stopwatch/world clock, calculator and your camera.319

iPhone Tip #9: Use your compass as a level

Well isn’t this a fun little extra.  I know I could have used this new feature a few times lately. The iPhone compass got a complete redesign with iOS 7 which also includes this great new level. To use the level open the compass app and then swipe to the right. You’ll know you’ve achieve a perfect level when the circles overlap and/or the screen turns green.

iPhone Tip  #10: How to take a screenshot

This isn’t anything new but a great tip none the less. I have to admit I just learned this from a cashier at Michael’s a few weeks ago (BONUS TIP… this is perfect for their mobile coupons that expire after one use).  Simply hold down the power button and the home button (the indented button at the bottom of the phone) at the same time and the screen will flash and the screenshot will be stored in your photo album.

iPhone Tip #11: How to lock iPhone screen orientation

Who doesn’t check their iPhone in bed… I know I do.  Don’t you hate it when you’ve just gotten all cozy on your side and then the iPhone screen changes orientation and you can’t read it without lifting your head up. This is the perfect scenario to use the iPhone lock screen orientation trick.  This trick is another oldie but a goodie although now you’ll find it in a different spot with the iOS 7 operating system.  Swipe your screen from the bottom up and you’ll see it on the top right of the control center.331

iPhone Tip #12: Multiple pages in apps folders

This isn’t really mind-blowing but it’s a nice addition all the same.  Up until now you could only put 12 apps in any one folder.  Now thanks to the multiple page feature whenever you have more than 9 apps in a folder it automatically makes a new page in the same folder. The little dots at the bottom of the open folder tell you if there are multiple pages or not.

iPhone Tip #13: Activation lock

The thing you dreaded most just happened, you lost your phone – what now?  Apple has kindly added a great new feature to make your iDevices more secure. Activation lock makes it difficult for anyone else to use or steal your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and protects the device from allowing anyone to turn off your “Find my iPhone” setting, erase or reactivate your device.

iPhone Tip #14: Notes with Siri

I’ve used the Notes utility on my iPhone right from my very first 3G. It’s basic and easy and that’s probably why I use it.  Now you can use Siri to make your notes for you.  Just turn on Siri and say (for example) “Make a note called Grocery List”, Siri will tell me that the note has been made and then I can activate Siri again and say “add cheese, milk, eggs, onions, carrots, and potatoes” and the note will continue.  You can get Siri back to the note again any time by saying “add milk to my grocery list note”. Finally, when you’re ready to retrieve your grocery list you just need to say to Siri “show me my grocery list note’. How great is that!Siri Notes

iPhone Tip #15: Reminders with Siri

This is definitely one of my favorite tips especially with my horrible memory.  You can use Siri to automate and schedule reminders for you. Even more exciting is that you can use Siri for location-based reminders. What does that mean?  So let’s say that you’re dropping you child off at school and you just realized you need to take the chicken out to thaw for dinner.  All you need to say to Siri  is “remind me to take the chicken out when I get home”.  Now, as soon as you get home your iPhone detects your location and you’ll receive an alert to take the chicken out to thaw. This all works thanks to the magic of location services (make sure you have it turned on). You’re phone automatically sends you the reminder… wow, that one knocks my socks off. One thing to note, you need to have your address listed in your contacts for this to work but don’t worry, Siri will prompt you to key it in if it isn’t already listed. This works for any location as long as you have the correct address.

BONUS 10 FREE IPHONE WALLPAPER…

Since I updated my iPhone to the new operating system my old wallpaper looked too busy.  I created a softer, visually pleasing wallpaper that works well with the iOS 7 theme (see the first photo of this post to see what it looks like with all the icons).  I like the aqua/teal color but I knew that wouldn’t appeal to everyone so I made it in 4 other colors as well. For those of you who like floral designs I’ve created a series with swirls and curves too.  Click here to download your 10 free iPhone 5 wallpapers.

Download 10 Free iPhone 5 Backgrounds.

Download 10 Free iPhone 5 Backgrounds in 5 different color sets.

 

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Thanks for reading!

~ Jamey

 

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Hardware Earrings on a Dime

| Crafts & DIY

Easy and inexpensive hardware jewelry.

Easy and inexpensive hardware jewelry.

Hardware Earrings on a Dime.  I’ve been admiring all the trendy hardware jewelry I’ve seen lately so I thought I’d try my hand at it too. Earlier this week I went to the local hardware store and as I perused the nuts and bolts section, I came across some stainless steel washers – immediately I had an idea in mind for them.  I brought them home and started the assembly process. Oh, and why is the title of my blog post “Hardware Earrings on a Dime”?  Well, yes they are an affordable DIY but also, when I went to attach the bail to the washer I realized that the back of the bail came down too far so I needed to add something to cover over the hole in the middle.  I couldn’t find anything and then I spotted our stash of coins – bingo, dimes were exactly what I needed for these earrings.  My goal was to make these fun and playful so I decided to incorporate nail polish – every girl needs a little colour in her life!  I love the results and it was easy and affordable to make these adorable hardware earrings.

Learn how to make these adorable hardware earrings.

Learn how to make these adorable hardware earrings.

Materials:

  • Stainless steel washers
  • Nail polish
  • Dimes
  • Bails
  • Ear wires
  • Glue (I used Weldbond)
  • Needle-nose pliers

Instructions:

    1. Carefully paint the front (smooth) side of the washers with your desired nail polish color and allow to dry.
    2. Paint the dimes with a contrasting nail polish color (you don’t need to paint the entire side of the dime, just a circle larger than the hole in the washer), allow to dry.
    3. Place glue around the edge of the washer and glue the dime on to the back of the washer so that the side of the dime that has nail polish on it can be seen when you look through the hole.  Allow to dry.
    4. Now glue the bail on the washer.
    5. After everything has set overnight and is completely dry, use your needle-nose pliers to fasten the ear wire on the bail.  Tighten and make sure the washer/dime is secure. That’s it, you’re done.

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Thanks for reading!

~ Jamey

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Monster and Ghost Spray Away

| Kids Fun, Printables

Stay away monster and ghost spray

Stay away monster and ghost spray

Monster and Ghost Spray Away – At some point, most parents hear their children say “I’m scared to go to sleep because there’s a monster under my bed.”  I know we went through that almost 2 years ago when we moved into our new house.  Noelle was petrified that there was a monster in her closet.  We tried everything we could think of but nothing diminished her fear.  Then after doing a bit of research online I heard about “monster spray”.  I quickly jimmied up a spray water bottle with a cute label and gave it to Noelle to keep the monsters away.  That was all it took, after that she wasn’t afraid of monsters any more!

Now I can help pass along this parenting gem by giving you this printable label.  Simply print the file out on a piece of paper, trim to the appropriate size and stick to a spray bottle.  Just use a regular water bottle with a spray nozzle.  If you can, add some sort of scent to the water so that your child believes the spray has magical monster and ghost repelling qualities (lemon, orange, vanilla or essential oils would all work well). Sweet dreams!

Download Monster and Ghost Spray Away file here.

Looking for more great kids stuff: Jellyfish Friendship Bracelets10-minute superhero costumeblank faces colour pageDIY I spy gamegood karma cardsfamily movie night tickets3-minute bubble maker

__________________

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Thanks for reading!

~ Jamey

Ghost and monster spray away printable label

Ghost and monster spray away printable label

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