How to Crochet a Heart Earring for Valentine’s Day

Crochet Heart EarringsI know that I’m leaving this a bit late, with Valentine’s Day being tomorrow and all, but I’ve been a bit busy and I only organized my children’s Valentine’s cards and teacher’s gifts today.

I can’t stand the thought of paying out $5 for a box of chocolates for the teachers.  It’s not that I don’t think they’re worthy – quite the opposite – but my husband used to work at a school and he would report to me how the teachers were given so much chocolate at Christmas that they gave some away to other staff.  I’d hate to spend money on something that really and truly is surplus to requirements.

Our kids’ school is great when it comes to any holiday.  The teachers dress up and the halls get decorated.  I figured that the best gift might be something simple and handmade that they could wear on the day.

So I settled on crochet heart earrings.  They are so simple, made with spare yarn and jewellery findings that I had already.

IMG_0236You will need:

  • Yarn
  • crochet hook
  • scissors
  • needle
  • 4 jump rings (per pair of earrings)
  • 2 earring findings (per pair of earrings)
  • pliers

Terms:

  • Ch = Chain
  • DC = Double Crochet
  • TC = Triple Crochet

Crochetting the heart:

  • Ch 4
  • 3 x TC into the first stitch
  • 3 x DC into the first stitch
  • Ch 1
  • 1 x TC into the first stitch
  • Ch 1
  • 3 x DC into the first stitch
  • 3 x TC into the first stitch
  • Ch 3
  • Join through the same first stitch with a slip stitch
  • Sew in your tails

Further instruction:

  • Open a jump ring and thread it through the centre of the heart and close the jump ring
  • Open the second jump ring and thread it through the first jump ring
  • Before closing that jump ring, add the earring finding
  • Close the jump ring
  • Repeat for second earring

And here is my video tutorial:

How to make beef jerky in a food dehydrator

Dried Pork JerkyOur 9-year old son LOVES beef jerky. He could eat it for every snack and even meals if we let him.

Firstly, it’s very expensive – the Dollar Store used to do a tiny pack for $1.50. Walmart has beef jerky too, but they do the same size pack for $1.97. A slightly bigger pack is $4.99! My boy can go through it too quickly to accommodate those prices.

Secondly, it’s salty. Very salty. Not to mention all the other stuff that goes into it.

I mentioned in a previous post that we bought a food dehydrator. Truthfully, beef jerky was our main reason for buying it. I wanted to choose the meat that my son was eating and I wanted to choose the spices that go into it.

So, along came the dehydrator.  We chose the Nesco Snackmaster, which has been a fabulous purchase.  Just yesterday, I purchase 3 pounds of lean ground pork and I set to work.

The dehydrator came with 5 pouches of jerky seasoning but that went quickly and I needed to find my own recipe.  Here is the recipe that I use.  You’ll be able to tweak it to your own tastes:

  • a jerky gun
  • 1 pound of lean ground pork
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce (I used the low sodium variety)
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp of liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

A word of warning: that’s quite a lot of liquid for just 1 pound of ground meat.  Add the liquids slowly and stop when you feel like it’s getting too wet.   The wetter the meat, the longer it will take to dry in the dehydrator.

Instructions:

  • mix all the ingredients together in a bowl
  • load the jerky gun
  • dispense strips of ground meat on the dehydrator trays
  • set your dehydrator to about 165F
  • dry for at least 4 hours (jerky should be chewy and stiff, but not brittle)
Ground Pork Jerky

Ready to be dried.

How to Crochet Eyelashes using Loop Stitch

Crochet Eyes

Here’s another video tutorial on adding the eyelashes to the eyes on the owl hat that I wrote about in Adult Owl Hat (Square Version) Free Pattern.

The Loop Stitch looked so difficult at first, but I quickly got the hang of it:

Adult Owl Hat (Square Version) Free Pattern

I was asked the other day to crochet an owl hat for an ex-colleague’s daughter. How old is she, I asked. Twenty-five, was the response. I had been expecting a lower number!

So I started thinking about how I could modify my past owl hat patterns to suit an adult. For starters, I imagined using a “square” design rather than the beanie. My least favourite part of the owl hats are the ears! Grrr.

And then I decided to use more “mature” colours. This young adult apparently volunteers at a bird sanctuary so her mother thought the owl hat would be appreciated and apt.

Using scrap yarn – so I can’t even tell you what kind of yarn it was – I came up with this:

The Square Adult Owl Hat

The Square Adult Owl Hat

I’m pleased with the way it turned out, although, as with pretty much everything I make, I’ve learned a few lessons and there are some things I’d do differently next time.

~ PATTERN ~

Hat

To make the hat, make a chain long enough to fit around your head and join, being careful not to twist the chain. Work DC (double crochets) in rounds until the hat is tall enough to just go over your head and meet in the middle.

Without tying off, turn the hat inside out and lay the hat flat, so that two sides meet. Use SC (single crochets to seal the top of the hat together. Cut your yarn and weave in the tails.

Turn the hat right way out again.

Square adult owl hat

Ears

The ears are formed by the corners of the hat when it’s on your head. I added some threads of different lengths to hang from the ears.

Eyes

The eyes are done as flat circles.

Round 1: ch 3, then DC x 12 into the first hoop. Join.

Round 2: ch 2 and add a DC into the same stitch. DC x 2 into remaining stitches and join (24).

Round 3: ch 2 and add a DC into the same stitch. SC into the next stitch. Alternate between SC and DC to complete the round. Join. (36)

Round 4: Ch 2 and add a DC into the same stitch. SC into the next 2 stitches. Continue that pattern (DC, SC, SC, DC, SC, SC…) to complete the round. Join. (48)

Leave a long tail to sew the eye onto the hat.

I added a smaller circle (just 2 rounds) in a different colour on top and then I added a button.

Eyelashes

The eyelashes were done using the Loop Stitch. The loop stitches cover 18 stitches around the outside of each of the biggest circles.

I learned the loop stitch with the help of this video.

The loop stitch looks like the photo below. You can then cut each stitch to make long eyelashes.

Loop Stitch

The Beak

In the past, I used the beak pattern that goes like this:

Ch 7, Sl St into the second ch from hook. The remaining chains get a SC, HDC, DC, TC. But I find I end up with a very long and narrow beak.

So, after a little searching, I found crafterchick.com who, I think, has a better pattern:

Round 1: Using your orange yarn (or desired beak color in this project) ch 6. Sc in the 2nd ch from hook and next 4 ch. Ch 1 and turn. (5 sc)
Round 2-4: Sc in second st from hook, skipping 1st st in each round, placing 1 sc in each of the following st. Ch 1 and turn at end of round.
Round 5: Sc in remaining st. Ch 1 and turn.
Round 6: Make 1 sc in each st around the whole perimeter of your beak, placing 3 sc in each of the two top corners and beak tip point to give it a more defined plus rounded look.
Cut yarn leaving a long enough tail to have enough yarn to sew the beak securely on to the hat. Put aside until ready in finishing off stage.

Much better!

Assembly

Sew the the eyes together first, then attach them to the hat in the desired location.

Remember I said earlier that I’d change a few things if I could? This is one of them. Once the hat was on my head, I realized that I’d put the eyes on too high up. They needed to be lower to be seen properly.

Attached the beak slightly overlapping the eyes (if you like). I sewed almost all the way around the beak and then stuffed the beak with the leftover yarn to make it puff up before closing up the gap.

Tie in all your loose ends and try on your new hat!

Adult Owl Hat

Hoo hoo!

How to make dried banana chips in a food dehydrator

We bought a food dehydrator and I’m very excited about it. The purchase came about to accommodate our son’s love for beef jerky, which we found very expensive and full of god-knows-what. But food dehydrators are useful for so many other foods as well.

I like to make apple chips, banana chips, strawberry chips, beef jerky. I have yet to dried herbs or vegetables but that is certainly on the menu for the foreseeable future.

I looked at Wal-Mart and they carried a food dehydrator for around $50. The reviews for this machine were good, but I am a firm believer in trying to buy more middle range. I’ve been burned too many times with cheaper products that fail too quickly.

That led me to Amazon.ca, where I found the Nesco Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator. It cost $95 and came with 5 trays, a recipe book and a jerky gun, which was a major selling point for us.

I set about drying some jerky first, which our son loved, and then moved on to bananas. These have been a hit with our daughter and with me too!

You will need:

  • a food dehydrator (it can be done in the oven as well)
  • bananas (as many as you like)
  • a bit of lemon juice
  • Instructions:

  • Slice the bananas very thin, about 1/8″
  • Lay the slices on the trays, close but not touching
  • Lightly spray the slices with lemon juice to stop them from browning
  • Set your dehydrator to 135F or 58C (assuming you have a dehydrator with temperature controls)
  • The process will likely take at least 3 hours. Make sure you check the progress frequently so that the chips will be as crispy or as soft as you like. I like mine not too crispy. I like them to be a little chewy. They stick in your teeth like that but it’s almost like eating candy. And so much better for you.

    A word of warning: Be aware that it’s very easy to eat your way through three or four bananas before you even realize it. We all know about eating lots of fruit and these are healthy chips, but those who are calorie-counting should be careful. :)

    Drying Banana Chips

    Drying Banana Chips

    Drying Banana Chips

    Drying Banana Chips

    Nesco Food Dehydrator

    Nesco Food Dehydrator

    Drying Banana Chips

    Drying Banana Chips

    Dried banana chips

    Dried banana chips

    How to make a knotted (macrame) bracelet or anklet

    Macrame JewelleryI absolutely love knotted anklets.  I bought one when we went on holiday to Lake George, New York, a few weeks ago and since then I’ve become slightly obsessed in making them for everyone I know.  They are surpringly easy to make and very, very inexpensive compared to some of the other jewellery I like to make.

    To make one yourself, you will need:

    • Hemp cord (3 strands of approximately 24 inches each)
    • Beads (3, 4 or 5 beads, depending on size)
    • Clipboard
    • Scissors
    • Measuring tape
    • Clear nail polish

    To start

    Start by knotting all 3 strands of hemp together and clipping the knot into the clipboard to keep it in place while you work.

    Layout

    To make an 11-inch anklet, I laid out the design like this:

    • Knot
    • 3.5 inches of braiding
    • 2 square knots
    • 1 bead
    • 2 square knots
    • 1 bead
    • 2 square knots
    • 1 bead
    • 2 square knots
    • 1 bead
    • 2 square knots
    • 3.5 inches of braiding
    • knots

    Hopefully, you already know how to braid so I won’t need to show you how to do that.  But square knots are slightly trickier (only slightly), so I made a video tutorial:

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