Thursday, March 31, 2011

St. Louis Cardinals Baseball vs. Raking Leaves

Today is the first home game for the St. Louis Cardinals! They are playing against the San Diego Padres. I love the start of the baseball game season. It means cold beer, hot dogs, and warm weather. Finally!! My husband is at the game right now with 3 of his friends. They got Champion’s Club tickets, The Champion Club has reserved outdoor seating but it also has an indoor lounge, 2 ½ hour- all you can eat- buffet, private restrooms, and 2 bars. The tickets were very expensive, over $200, but well worth it, especially in this iffy weather.

My husband is very likely having a lot more fun than I am. I am home. I just finished raking the front yard. We have 2 large oak trees which have produced an over abundance of leaves and acorns. The squirrels have been very happy this year. If you have a leaf blower and a leaf mulcher, you can make this chore a short one. I felt like raking and bagging them today. I like the quiet. I am sure I will be very sore tomorrow.

I found a few raking tips I’d like to share:

1. Buy a good rake. There are a lot of different kinds of rakes. Be sure you get a leaf raking one with a larger padded handle to reduce hand fatigue.

2. Raking is good exercise. Stretch before you begin and be careful not to strain your back or arms. Lift with your legs and avoid twisting movements. Cool down when you are finished.

3. Wear gloves to protect your hands from sharp objects in the leaves and from getting blisters from using the rake.

4. Everyone has his or her own method of raking leaves. Most people rake them into small piles and put them into yard waste bags for disposal or other containers for compost and/or disposal. If it is windy outside, I try to rake with the wind into a fence or building wall to stop the leaves from blowing away. Otherwise, I rake away from the sides of my property into the center. I rake small piles of leaves and put them into bags.

5. Take frequent breaks. Raking is hard work. Stop once in awhile and just look around and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. Just breathe in the fresh air.

6. Economical tip: I keep a bucket full of water handy when putting leaves into yard waste bags. If you add a little water, you can compact more leaves into the bag. A bag will hold 3 times more wet leaves than dry ones. Just add a little water about 3-4 times when filling a bag and push them down as tight as you can every time. It costs us about $2.50 to get one bag hauled away so that is about a savings of $5.00.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Easter Egg Coaster Crochet Pattern

I've been making a lot of these Easter egg coasters. I like to decorate them with these little bunny appliques but you can also use bows, buttons, sequins, etc. to make them fancier. They are very easy and quick to crochet. Using an I hook, they are approximately 5 1/2 inches long and 4 inches wide. You can get a slightly larger one using a J or K hook. They also make nice appliques for shirts and bags.

Easter Egg Coaster



Materials:

I hook

Small amount of yarn

Note: Egg can be worked up in a solid color or in 3 stripes.

Instructions:

Chain 5.

Row 1: 2 Sc in 2nd chain from hook. Sc in next 2 chains. 2 sc in last chain. Chain 1 and turn. (6 sc.)

Row 2: Sc across. Chain 1 and turn.

Row 3: 2 sc in first sc. Sc in next 4 sc. 2 sc in last sc. Chain 1 and turn. (8 sc.) Row 4. Sc across. Chain 1 and turn. (Change color if desired).

Row 5: 2 sc in first sc. Sc in next 6 sc. 2 sc in last sc. Chain 1 and turn. (10 sc.) Rows 6-10: Sc across. Chain 1 and turn. (Change color if desired.)

Row 11: Sc decrease in 1st 2 sc. Sc in next 6 sc. Sc decrease in last 2 sc. Chain 1 and turn. (8sc.)

Row 12: Sc across. Chain 1 and turn.

Row 13: Sc decrease in 1st 2 sc. Sc in next 4sc. Sc decrease in last 2 sc. Chain 1 and turn. 4 sc)

Row 14: Sc decrease in 1st 2 sc c last 2 sc. (2sc). Sc around eggs joining with a slip stitch into last sc decrease.


I also have a free Easter Bunny Coaster Pattern you can try out. It is very cute.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Easter Stuff


Officially it is spring, but it is getting a slow start here in the middle of Illinois. It is sunny but cold and we are expecting snow tomorrow. I got out my Easter decorations today. I thought it might raise my spirits. It did a little, but I forgot that I had thrown out a lot of them last year.


I went shopping to pick up some new kitchen towels and found cute little miniature trees, plastic eggs, and some stuff to make a new wreath. The trees are really cute. Each tree is about 15 inches tall and has white bendable wires in a pastel flower pot. I am using them for centerpieces on my kitchen and dining table. I decorated one of them with crocheted bunnies and the second one has glittery foam hanging eggs. I’m hoping to make a wreath tomorrow for my front door and hang some plastic eggs on my almond shrub if the weather is cooperative.


It has been a pleasure making Easter things the last few weeks. I love spring colors. I have been making sweet, little bunny appliques, potholders, and coasters.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Signs of Spring


Winter. I’ve had enough snow and gray, dreary days. I would like to see some greenery. My two young adult sons are at a Mardi Gras celebration in St. Louis, Missouri today. I’m sure that they are having a wonderful time. Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday and signifies the beginning of Lent. Tuesday, March 8th is the actual date and Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. That means that Easter is only 6 weeks away and that spring is just around the corner!

My midwestern town of Springfield will start celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this week. Everybody is Irish St. Patrick's Day! There will be lots of Irish food in the restaurants. McDonald’s is now selling Shamrock shakes. There will be a Sons and Daughters of Erin dinner this Thursday evening. The Sons and Daughters of Erin are a national group dedicated to preserving the customs and history of Ireland. There will be a lovely Irish dinner, beer, a performance by comedian Johnny Kavenaugh, beer, announcement of the Irish Man and woman of the year, beer, and door prizes. My husband and I are going. I think it will be a lot of fun. Saturday, March 12 is our annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. We are marching in it this year. I love to see the costumes.

March 20th is actually the first official day of spring. You may have noticed that the days are getting longer which is very nice. Any day now we will start to see the first signs of spring: robins, budding trees, crocus blooms. Coming soon.