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I have never been a big user of stitch markers, until recently when I have been working on larger projects that involve colorwork or more intricate stitch work. If I ever needed any I would simply make tiny yarn rings out of another color and use those. The difficulty with yarn stitch markers is they aren’t removable and they are easy to loose in your work. I often found myself knitting them in and having to cut them out and then make new ones. One day I used paperclips and they worked great! They were removable and served their purpose. I have stepped up the quality once again with these little safety pins I found on ebay. I bought 100 for $3 or so and they work great. I don’t know how large of needles they will work up to probably a US size 9 (5.5mm) maybe larger. Anyway I am giving them as gifts to a few knitter friends and I wanted to make some cute packaging for them.

I created a tiny envelope template and thought I would share it for free. You can fill this envelope with gold colored paperclips (very fancy), or you can purchase these safety pins online, or you can fill it with any other type of removable stitch marker you wish to fashion for your friends. It is a bit more time consuming than purchasing envelopes but they are really cute and tiny. You can refer back to my DIY: Brown Paper Label for the particulars of printing on paper from an old Trader Joe’s bag or any paper grocery bag. I used the same principle for this project. Click on the image below to download the envelope as a PDF.

REMOVABLESTITCH

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IMG_0335 Print the template on your 8.5 by 11 sheet of brown paper. Cut out the template and fold on the lines. Then glue the bottom and smaller side tab. Then fold over the larger tab leaving the top flap open.

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Now you can stuff your envelope with stitch markers and seal it. You can use a tiny piece of double stick tape to seal the top or you can glue it shut when you have put the stitch markers in it. Either way this is a great way to package stitch markers for a gift.

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I used these cute coil-less safety pins that I purchased on ebay. You can find them HERE. They are fantastic. I don’t know if they are as practical as some of the ring stitch markers but they are removable and look nice. My knitting sits around a lot so it is important to me that it looks nice as it sits neglected on my dresser. Here is a hat pattern I am working on, I am using Malabrigo Arroyo in two colors. It is such great yarn. I will post pictures of the finished design as soon as its ready.

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or purchase from Etsy or Ravely

As I was getting ready to post this pattern I started looking back to see when my last pattern release was…it has been over a year. So that begs the question, what on earth have I been doing for the last year? I had a baby, which is the best excuse…right? Anyway, I am finally back to it.

So with no further delay here is my newest knitting pattern…the Abigail Hood. This adorable hood feels as though it has jumped from the page of your favorite Austen classic. It fits comfortably over long hair or short and covers the ears for a little extra warmth. The loose construction of the body of the hat allows air flow for warmer weather. Enjoy the larger size for a looser look or the medium for the more fitted feel.

NOTE ON YARN: These hats were all knit up in Malabrigo Twist. This yarn is AMAZING! I absolutely love it. It is 8ply, heavy worsted, 100% marino wool. Basically incredibly soft and squishy and it stretches beautifully. You can use another heavy worsted or aran weight yarn but to achieve the closest look to the pictures, pick up a skein of Malabrigo Twist at your friendly local yarn shop. Colorways pictured are Applewood, zinc, and purple mystery.

There are three sizes included in this pattern.

Large: fits a regular adult head

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Medium: fits a child/ teen/ small adult

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Small: fits a baby/ toddler/ small child

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I have been asked many times to share the recipe for my gluten-free granola. It is the best granola recipe I have found (that is easier for me to say as it is my mother recipe not mine) and you can make it gluten free or not depending on your dietary needs. It is also dairy free and sugar-free as long as you don’t count honey as sugar. The best part about this recipe is it’s very easy to adjust and change depending on what you want in it. I have included a basic description of how to prepare different types of ingredients, but the specifics are up to you. I included the extra ingredients I used in the “Optional Delicious Extras” section as well. IMG_7720

Basic Ingredients:

6 cups gluten-free oats: Oats are one of the most commonly contaminated grains. If you have an issue with gluten you will feel it when you eat oats that are not certified gluten free. This is because oats and wheat are processed on the same equipment. I get my gluten-free oats from Azure Standard but you can find it at most health stores.

  • 1 cup Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is amazing! However it is important to get organic virgin coconut oil. If you are trying to retain the health benefits of foods the less processing and pesticides the better.
  • 1 cup Honey: Obviously organic raw local honey is the best but it is very expensive, the granola is wonderful no matter what type of honey you use.
  • 1 Tbs Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

 

Optional Delicious Extras:

(If you have celiac’s disease you may need to get the gluten free version of some or all of these ingredients.)

  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup raw pepita
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Ingredients to be added after the granola is finished baking:

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pistachio hearts
  • 1/2 cup cut up dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries

Directions:

preheat oven to 350°

In a 13 x 9 inch baking pan mix the oats, cinnamon, (cloves, Cacao, nuts, seeds, coconut) and salt. Slowly melt the honey and coconut oil in a pan and pour them over the oats. Mix everything together until all the ingredients look evenly coated with the honey and oil. Once you have done this place pan in the oven. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Pull out the pan and stir the granola. Place the pan back in the oven and cook for an additional 20 minutes stirring every ten minutes. If the granola turns golden brown before the end of the time limit pull it out early. Set out and stir in any dried fruit ingredients. Then let it cool thoroughly. Feel free to snack on the granola during this time to check if is wonderful or not.

Once the granola has cooled make yourself a bowl and put the rest in an air tight container or a Ziploc. It keeps for a long time but my family always finishes a batch by the end of a couple of days.

 

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Spring and Summer are the perfect seasons for flower crown creation. Truth is, I make flower crowns year round whenever I can. I remember the first time someone taught me how to braid a flower crown as a child, what a liberating feeling. That is what creating does for me, it is freeing. For this DIY I needed to get some photos of myself wearing the flower crown so I set up my camera with a Joby Pod on a chair and had my five year old focus and take the photos. He did a great job considering he has not used my camera before. The small photo shoot of the flower crown changed into a photo shoot of my children. I need to do more photography with my kids they are amazing.

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The crown was way too large for Fiona but I needed to set up the shot so she wore it for a moment.

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For this crown I used the following flowers:

Peony – by far one of my favorite flowers.

Mums – another favorite. These have slender stems and are great for braiding.

Stock – I used Purple Stock.

Emille – I had never seen this flower until I went to a farmers market. I love it and wish it was readily available at my local Trader Joe’s like the rest of the flowers.

I used jute also for this crown, it is helpful to have something to tie of the ends and to secure heavier flowers with.

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Trim the ends of the flowers. Remove the leaves so you have bare stems to work with.

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Hold three stems together. With the flowers at the top. I had a few vines from my yard which I added in.

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Tie the three stems together so you can start braiding. I have made flower crowns without tying the ends of the stems together, this just makes it easier. Begin braiding the stems and as you do add in flowers, its very similar to french braiding.

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If you end up with too many stems and it gets hard to braid just cut off the stems that have been worked in the most leaving the newer stems to continue your braid.
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When your crown reaches the desired length tie it off with a four inch length of jute cord. Don’t stress about getting all the flowers in during this part. I weave in extra flowers after the crown is braided. Larger flowers like peonies need to be cut down until their stems measure 2-3 inches and then you can weave them into the braid and secure them with more jute.

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play with it until it is as full as you want it to be. This crown was massive and probably would not work great for wearing out and about but it was great for photography.

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My favorite part about this shoot was that my kids pushed their way in and I got some great shots with me and the twins. I need to take more photos with my kids!

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I adore my children…

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A couple of years ago I purchased a Jack LaLanne Juicer. I find that when I have juice regularly I feel so much better. I thought I would share one of my favorite juice recipes. You can add different amounts of each item depending on how sweet, tart, or spicy you want your juice to be. Not only is this juice packed with nutrients, it is energizing and detoxifying.

Energizing Juice:

Peeled Ginger: 1/2 inch to 1 inch slice (I peel my ginger with a spoon, it is very effective)

Apple: 2 medium sized Granny Smith apples

Lemon: 1/2 medium lemon (juice the peel also there are many nutrients that are found in lemon peel)

Mint: 2-4 stems of mint (pineapple mint pictured)

Kale: 2-4 leaves (purple kale pictured)

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Chop up the kale and the apples into manageable pieces and start juicing.

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I find that I get the best results when I sandwich the kale and mint between a few slices of apple. Add a piece of apple into your juicer, don’t feed it all the way through, then add your kale followed by another apple slice. This allows the kale and mint to be more thoroughly juiced.

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If you would like to know more about the nutritional properties of each food in this juice you can check out the links below.

Ginger is great for digestion, helps with inflammation, it has also been said to have an antioxidant effect.

Granny Smith apples are high in Vitamin C, help regulate blood sugar, they are high in potassium, and help with your digestive tract.

Lemons are amazing! They detoxify you, are high in Vitamin C, stimulate the liver, and strengthen blood vessels.

Mint detoxifies your skin, aids in digestion, and aids in respiration. (I originally had 3-5 stems in the recipe but my skin broke out after having that much mint. Now I know it was due to the detoxifying effect mint has on your skin. Go easy and watch for detoxifying symptoms, breaking out headache, gas. They will go away after a week but if they are severe drink less of the juice)

Kale can help lower cholesterol, it has Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and is rich in Antioxidents. IMG_2386

Creativity sometimes bursts forth in an unexpected outpouring, often because I feel overwhelmed. Somehow being creative allows me to feel a sense of control. When the laundry is overflowing every hamper and my children are wild and unruly I turn to seemingly unimportant tasks, such as re-potting plants. Sometimes they need the extra space and sometimes I just need a change of pace. Regardless, I frequently find myself moving plants from one location to another. Most recently I re-potted my crassula dubia (thank you Google!) using one of my milk-glass bowls and adding a rock and some ceramic mushrooms that I purchased on Etsy. Succulents always do so well in my area this time of year—despite being re-potted on a regular basis.

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I found these tiny ceramic decorative mushrooms on Etsy. Rebekka, creates these “Dainty Ceramic Mushrooms” and they are perfect for potted plants and terrariums.

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We are fully immersed in the “Do it Yourself Era.” The trend is fueled by nostalgia, this same nostalgia drives us back to fixie bikes, film cameras, and vinyls. My parents generation (the baby boomers) fled their roots to make a new life for themselves. They started businesses, created the current status quo for families (two kids, two cars, mid sized suburban home), and gave their children everything they didn’t have growing up. As a result the current generation of young people (20-30yr olds) and many others are trying to return to their roots and rediscover what makes things have emotional value. We can buy most things we want (made in China) for practically nothing, so we long for something more, something that will have emotional value. Many find this by making things themselves, or find meaning by buying things with a purpose (TOMS shoes, 31 Bits Jewelry, Crochet Kids). Items whose value is not in what they are, their value is the hope they give someone else.

All of this rambling is the product of my experience as one who both creates and loves to teach. I am thrilled to share what I have learned with others. There is something freeing in being able to create or make something.

I recently got back into making jewelry. I love it. Knitting is also wonderful but being as it is 80 degrees outside already I have decided to make jewelry by day and knit by night (when I can find time with four kids!).

One easy way to make your own jewelry is to buy a chain (gold, brass, silver, or mixed metal) and then hunt for a pendant. Right now druzy are coming in.

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White Druzy Necklace (Please note the pendant in this listing is half an inch by three quarters of an inch, very small but beautiful)

Amethyst Druzy Necklace

There are also Druzy necklaces for sale at stores like Urban Outfitters and Free People but they are not showing a picture of the necklace you will receive so it is a little risky.

Another option is to search for a druzy pendant and buy a chain separately. I bought a bunch wholesale and I am selling what I have (with chain 40-45 dollars, and without chain 20-25 dollars). The nice thing about buying the pendant from another source and putting it on a chain you like is you know exactly what you are getting (make sure to read descriptions carefully!). If you look at the measurements and double check that you understand what size you are getting it can result in you being able to pick the pendant that you like.

Shops that sell druzy pendants:

Beads of Cambay

Etsy

Fire Mountain Gems

If you are looking for an inexpensive gold like chain option here is where you can purchase a few. These are the types of chain that could eventually turn your skin green so be aware. It is much better than a gunmetal base. The convenient thing is they are really inexpensive so you can get a $60 necklace for $25-$30 dollars.

Gold Colored Brass Finished Chain

If you want a necklace with at least a little real gold on it you can get a gold plated chain. These are a little more expensive than the brass chains but are still affordable. The gold will wear off, however. The chains I am selling are 32 inches in length and are double plated with 24K gold. They will last a little longer but I purchased them through a wholesaler. Here are some options for you.

Gold Plated Over Silver Finished Chain

Gold Plated Over Brass Finished Chain

The next step up is gold filled chain. This chain is much more expensive. Many jewelry designers use gold filled chain which is similar to plated only it has a much higher gold content. This makes the chain much more expensive. I offer a gold filled chain in 24 inches with a 3 inch extender. This chain is very light weight but beautiful and looks great with the agate pendants. Here are some resources for gold filled finished chains.

Gold Filled Finished Chain (Fire Mountain Gems)

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Agate Pendants

$25 dollars (pendant only)

$40 dollars (with a 32″ 24k  gold double plated rolo chain) limited supply

($5 shipping within US)

 EMAIL ME if you are interested in purchasing one and I can make a custom listing. I can also send you exact sizing for each pendant, these range from 1 -1.5 inch in length and .5 inch in width.

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Citrine Druzy Pendants: these are beautiful and very large from 1-2.5 inches in length and 1-2 inches in width. They are gold plated with large crystal points.

$30 dollars (pendant only)

$45 dollars  (with a 32″ 24k  gold double plated rolo chain) limited supply

($5 shipping within US)

EMAIL ME if you are interested in purchasing one and I can make a custom listing. I can also send you exact sizing for each pendant.

 

I have not posted in a while because I recently had my fourth child. Logan Forest McLaughlin was born on February 5, 2013. Also I was sick for the last part of my pregnancy so it has been hard to find a time to sit and create let alone write about what I am creating. In anticipation of Logan’s birth, however, I did have some time to try my hand at some design. Here is the birth announcement I designed (I still need to print it).

loganbirthannouncement Front.

loganbirthannouncmentback Back.

I so enjoyed designing this piece and I hope to have it printed eventually. It seems my life is a list of things that I hope to do, one I will never complete, I suppose. Regardless I adore Logan just as much as my other sweet children. I am a blessed.

Here are some more pictures of Logan. He has started smiling since I took these photos so I need to take some more photos soon.







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logansm-6757 Logan with his big sister Fiona. If you are trying to get good pictures of your children what you need more than a expensive gear, is good lighting. I took these in my bedroom.

 

 

 

Here is a look back at a DIY from last Christmas. I had so many requests of people wanting to repost it I thought I should bring it back for those who have not seen it before. Inexpensive, easy, and beautiful. Add a little re-purposed beauty to your holiday decor.

 

Thanksgiving is over, the official time to fill your home with wintery sights and scents is here. Most of my friends have their acts together and have the house fully decorated and full of holiday cheer. I have the issue every year that we don’t spend Christmas at home. We usually spend it with the grandparents. I love any decorating ideas that will not get dried out after a week of neglect. This year I saw Anthropologie decorated their stores with Christmas scenes in mason jars. Here is a little DIY if you want to try it yourself.

Materials Needed:

1. Fake Snow (I used baking sugar and clear glitter mixed)

2. Mason Jar

3. Glue Gun

4. Tiny Tree (I found a 20 pack of tiny christmas trees at JoAnn’s in the section with the tiny villages)

Here are pictures to show you what to do. Basically you glue the tree to the inside of the lid and put the fake snow inside the jar. Put the lid on and flip it over…really…so easy.

I made lots of little winter scenes in different sizes and stacked them on my mantle. I love the end result and I hope you will too.

Here are a few more DIYs for the holidays. I did a lot this year but I haven’t had any time to post new ideas. So until I get them up maybe some of these are new to you.

PEACOCK FEATHER ORNAMENTS

PINECONE ORNAMENT

Usually when a medium becomes too overused I tend to shy away from it. However in the case of Instagram there is something so beautiful and nostalgic about the art. A simple program that allows you to capture moments of your life and give them a vintage beauty. I find I do it more for myself than anything else. Anyway, here are a few shots from my Instagram stream. If you care to follow me you can find me with my username ejmac.

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