Wednesday, March 31, 2010

These Boots are Made for Walkin'

Crochet Cowboy Baby Booties

Oliver S. has made these bad boys famous, and I've had a request or two for the pattern. Since the previous link to them is no longer working (which is probably a good thing because it was one of those hundred-year-old AOL Hometown pages that automatically played MIDI files when you arrived), I decided to post the pattern here. Happy creating!

Materials:  Size F or G crochet hook, Worsted weight yarn 1 oz. brown, 40 yds. tan
Sizes:  Directions are given for small size with changes for large size in ( ).

Small size:  Use small directions and F hook for 3-1/2" finished sole.
Medium size:  Use small directions and G hook for 4-1/2" finished sole.
Large size:  Use large directions and G hook for 5" finished sole.

Round 1:  With brown, ch 12 (14), sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next 7 (9), hdc in next, 2 hdc in next, 5 hdc in end ch. Now working down opposite side of starting ch, 2 hdc in next, hdc in next, sc in next 7 (9), 2 sc in next.

Round 2:  2 sc in first sc of last round, sc in next 10 (12) sts, (2 sc in next, sc in next) 3 times, sc in next 9 (11), 2 sc in next, sc in next.

Round 3:  2 sc in next, sc in next 11 (13), (2 sc in next, sc in next) twice, (sc in next, 2 sc in next) twice, sc in next 11 (13), 2 sc in next, sc in next, sl st in first sc of round, ch 1, turn.

Round 4:  Working in back loops only for this round, sc in each st around, sl st in first sc 39 (43) sts. Fasten off.

Round 5:  Working on heel of sole, center 13 sts. Working in front loops of round 3, with brown, join with sl st in first of 13 centered sts, sc in 11, sl st in next. Fasten off.

Round 6:  With tan yarn, join with a sc in middle st of last round at center back, sc in each st around. 39 (43) sts.

Round 7:  Sc in next 14 (16) sts, skip next, hdc in next, skip next, dc in next 2, dc next 2 sts together, dc in next 2, skip next, hdc in next, skip next, sc in next 13 (15).

Round 8:  Sc in next 13 (15), skip next, sc in next, skip next, sc in next 3, skip next, sc in next, skip next, sc in next 12 (14).

Round 9:  Sc in next 12 (14), (skip next, sc in next) 4 times, sc in next 10 (12).

Round 10:  Sc in next 6 (7), sl st in next 5 (6), skip next, sc in next 3, skip next, sl st in next 5 (6), sc in next 5 (6), sc in first sc of round, sl st in next. Fasten off.

Round 11:  With brown and working in back loops only for this round, join with a sc in sc before sl st of last round, sc in next 10 (12), skip next, sc in next 2, skip next, sc in next 9 (11).

Round 12:  Sc in next 22. (For large size, skip 2 sts somewhere at toe, and you will have 24 sc.)

Round 13:  Sc in each sc around. 22 (24) sc

Round 14:  Repeat round 13.

Round 15:  2 sc in next, sc in next 11 (12), 2 sc in next, sc in 9 (10), sc in the first sc of round.

Round 16:  Sc in next 24 (26).

Rounds 17-18:  Repeat round 16.

Round 19:  Sc in next 4 (5), hdc in next, skip next, dc in next, 4 dc in next, dc in next, skip next, hdc in next, sc in next 5 (6), hdc in next, skip next, dc in next, 4 dc in next, dc in next, skip next, hdc in next, sc in next, sl st in first sc of round. Fasten off.

Tan Edge
Round 1:  With tan yarn, joing with a sc in center back, sc in each st around with 2 sc in 2nd dc of each 4 dc group of last round.

Round 2:  Skip first sc of last round, sc in each sc around with 2 sc in 2nd sc of 2 sc group of last round, sl st in first sc. Fasten off.

Decoration on Front
Row 1:  Going back to the front loops of round 11 and working in the 3 center front loops, with tan yarn, sc in each of 3 center loops, ch 1, turn.

Rows 2-3:  Sc in 3 sc, ch 1, turn.

Row 4:  (Sc, hdc) in first sc, 3 dc in next, (hdc, sc) in last sc. Fasten off. Tack top of emblem to boot.

Decoration on Sides
With single strand of tan, ch 25 (30). Arrange in design (like a "yellow ribbon," see picture) and tack in place. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Quiet Book Pages - Thomas & Toy Story!

Well, I've added some new pages to the quiet book.

First, the traditional "Tie my Shoe" page. Pretty self-explanatory.

Next, we have a Thomas the Train page, complete with tracks for him to drive on...

Inside the blue pocket are Thomas and one of the other trains. Ephraim could tell you his name. How were these made??? PRINTABLE FABRIC!!! YAY!

Finally, a Toy Story page. Buzz and Woody are hiding in the cup and hamburger box. The cup is a pocket. The box has a piece of Velcro behind it. These were created with the printable fabric, also. This scene in Toy Story always absolutely cracks Ephraim up!

Here are Buzz & Woody out of hiding.

So, the success of these pages will be tested tomorrow!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Somebody asked me for this recipe, so here it is. You can save a TON of money by making your own laundry detergent... and it's pretty darn easy to make. Courtesy of the Duggar Family, and you know they know how to save some money! (You can find additional laundry detergent and fabric softener recipes on their site.)

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap
(front or top load machine)

4 cups hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ cup Borax

- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- ¼ cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

*Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" - in some stores or may be purchased online here (at Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!!

The Success of the Quiet Book

Well, I promised I'd report on the success of the quiet book. I am glad to report that the quiet book achieved...


Ephraim ate all of the Cheez-Its, naturally. He also enjoyed the coloring book and Magna Doodle, and he spent a little bit of time playing with all the pages that required the last several weeks to make. Figures. ;) He's been begging to play with those pages for weeks, and when the time actually came for him to do so, he was more impressed with his Magna Doodle and Cheez-Its. Kids these days....

Also, when he successfully completed a task, he rather loudly informed me of his success - "Look Momma, I did it!" We'll have to work on that part of it. ;)

Anyway, the next few pages that I will make will be more Ephraim-specific and less "how-that-lady-did-it" specific. He loves building things, and I'm figuring out a way to make a "Build-a-House" page. He also really likes Thomas the Train and Toy Story, so I will incorporate those fellas into a page or two. Ephraim's third birthday is coming up next month as well, so I will probably throw in a birthday cake page, just for practice.

I'll keep ya posted!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Neverending Project....

I sewed a quiet book for Ephraim. Phew!

What is a quiet book, you say? Well, a quiet book is one that is chock full of quiet activities for little ones. It is especially useful when traveling, in church, or when you just need some quiet at home.

This was a LOT of work. I got most of the ideas from this page -, and she has links to tons of other pages, so I already have a million more ideas. Quincy and I started brainstorming as well, so I have an additional one million original ideas. I'll definitely make more pages and therefore, create what will truly be the neverending project. (This is kind of hard for me because I really like things to be "done," but this is one of those projects I won't exactly get to "check off the list." I'm trying to psychologically prepare myself for that. Wish me luck!)

One of the things I read early on, when researching this endeavor, was to be sure to use book rings to bind the book, instead of sewing it together. There were a few of reasons for this. First, since this book is made for kids to play with, some of the pages will inevitably be destroyed. Since it is bound with book rings, I only have to remove the destroyed page instead of throwing out the whole book, or worse, trying to repair one page in a completely sewn-together book. Second, you can easily take pages out and put them back at will. It can be a completely different book from week to week. It can always be "new" to the little one, making them more interested and creating the likelihood that it actually will keep them quiet. Finally, if you have multiple children, the pages can be traded between multiple books. Let's say that once Aspen is old enough, she just loves all the apple tree pages, while Ephraim really likes the fishing pages. No big deal. Just trade. Beautiful. I am SO glad I read all of that before beginning the project. It really took a lot of tedious work to create the pages, so I would be devastated if my book were in 1 piece and then ruined, or if it became boring.

So, here are the photos. Enjoy! If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

The cover of the book. I added a snap in order to be able to shut it.


I sewed a huge pocket on the inside left of the cover. Page 1 is a cell phone. All the ideas that I saw online were rotary phones, which are cute, but they are barely in existence. Ephraim would have no idea what to do with one. I really wanted the book to teach him something, so I tried to make a phone he'd be familiar with. I added our phone numbers to the page, so that he can learn them, and the little phrase, "In an emergency call 911." The phone snaps to the page, so it can be removed to make calls. ;)

These are all the things that are currently stored in the giant pocket. A small Magna Doodle, crayons, a small coloring book (with stickers and tattoos, of course), and a baggie full of Cheez-Its. This is truly a child survival kit and is all ready for church tomorrow!

The next page is a mail box. The slot is open so he can put his letters and drawings inside. The facing page has a pocket for a pencil and a larger pocket for paper. (I'll put the paper in later.)

The page on the left is a miniature "town," complete with a Hot Wheels type car parked in the neon green garage. It can come out and drive on the street. The right page is a street light. Each of the colors is attached with Velcro to its corresponding color.

Letters and numbers! There are about a zillion pieces of Velcro on these pages so the letters and numbers can be moved around. He can practice spelling. The green pocket on the left can contain any/all letters or numbers not in use.

Getting dressed! The left page has a little boy with a few Velcro spots for his clothes. The right page is his closet. When you unzip the closet, you find...

Clothes! He can be dressed in multiple ways. Over time, I'll make some more little outfits for him.

Here we have a teepee and Noah's Ark. I'm not sure what I'll put in the teepee yet. Something great. The turquoise pocket will hold a compass. When you unzip Noah's Ark, it will of course contain... ANIMALS! I've looked at a few different places and haven't really found animals that I am happy with. I will probably order the finger-puppet animals from Ikea, as suggested on the aforementioned blog.

I think these pages are ridiculously cute. (Also kinda girly, but don't tell Ephraim.) The cupcakes can be removed from their "papers" and moved around. The oven opens and a cupcake can be inserted to bake. I will eventually make a little pot holder and attach it to the oven page, just to teach baking safety. ;)

Help Peter catch some fish! (This page makes me laugh for two reasons. 1. Peter looks crazy. I just drew him on the felt. Drawing on felt is kinda lame. 2. We used to call Ephraim's unmentionable part a peter, so he's still a bit confused about this friend of Jesus named Peter. I'll chock that up to a first-time parents mistake. Do not give private parts human names. When you meet that person, it will be embarrassing at the least, and possibly horrifying/confusing for your child at the worst.) The fish are buttoned to the page. They can be unfastened and placed inside the fishing net! The opposite page is for weaving. The strips of felt can be layered over each other to create a checkerboard pattern. (I was too lazy to do so for the picture, but you get the point.)

On the left, slide your hand inside the baseball glove. I thought I had a great idea by making the glove for the left hand, because Ephraim is right-handed, but it just sort of looks like a backward glove for the left hand. Oh well! On the right side, match the flower colors. Each of the flowers can unbutton from the page. Beneath them is a flower of the same color.

Match the shapes! These shapes Velcro on to their corresponding shapes on the page. The brown pocket will contain them when not in use. In hindsight, I wish I would have made the shapes in different colors from their corresponding shapes. Then, I could have had a little higher cognitive-level activity, matching shapes OR colors. I can always cut out some additional shapes though. No biggie. On the right is a teddy bear with a bow that needs tying. Good skill to learn.

And finally, the apple tree. The apples snap onto the tree and can be placed inside the little basket.

So, that's the quiet book for now. Like I said, I have approximately 2 million ideas for additional pages, so I'll update as I go. Also, I'll let you know how successful the book is after church tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jennifer Richardson, Woman Warrior. A Day in the Life...

Sometimes I really crack myself up. I was reflecting last night, after rewatching last week’s episode of LOST, about how sad I am that Sayid turned to “the dark side.” Quincy said that it only disappointed me because, according to a Facebook quiz, he is my alter-ego. It’s true. But I also really liked Sayid before I knew that. I am drawn to those warrior-type characters. Why? Because I am one.

It got me thinking about all these different FB quizzes I’ve taken over time and how I always end up with results like Sayid, Joan of Arc, Deborah, Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets, and Jim from The Office. Ok, so those last two aren’t big warriors, but they reflect the fact that I am horribly sarcastic and will probably grimace behind your back at the camera, if there were a camera.

This warrior thing is interesting though. I started kind of examining a typical day in my life and found myself pretty funny. I wake up at war. I don’t have a leisurely wake-up period. I am up and out of bed immediately. I attack the toilet with great ferocity and accomplish my morning pee-pee in no time. I brush my teeth as though the Nazis will break the door down at any moment. I get straight to breakfast and work. I do medical transcription most mornings, and type with ferociousness. This is no exaggeration. My emotional state during all of this is borderline angry. Why? What am I angry about? I have no idea. I just have foes to slay (i.e., the toilet, teeth, breakfast, and medical reports). Watch out world!

Once I’m done working, I usually fly into a fit of rage over the state of disarray that my house has found itself in. I frantically run about, cleaning up the toys my son took out during the period, vacuuming crumbs, and washing dishes. I do all of these activities with much more force than necessary, and usually have some degree of grumbling about it for everyone to hear. I will henceforth lovingly refer to this as my battle cry.

I usually settle down at this point. I guess I’ve defeated by enemy by about lunchtime. I can have a pleasant rest of the day, unless, God forbid, someone crosses me. My poor husband, the eternal lover, peacemaker, caretaker, is often the target. And let me tell you, if he disagrees with me about the slightest thing, I am ready to fight to the death. He is usually saying “it’s not a big deal, don’t worry about it” approximately 2 minutes into the conversation, while I am going Banshee woman on him. One of our issues is getting the kids ready. They belong to both of us, so shouldn’t both of us take equal part in this process? I don’t know. Apparently it’s a universal problem though. I don’t know another mom who hasn’t had this issue. In his defense, he really does help. Just not in a manner that I approve of, which, let’s face it, is the crux of all these problems. It’s quite simple really. Just do exactly what I want when I want without my having to tell you. Any deviation from this and there will be trouble. I am warrior woman.

Ironically, I rarely go ape on the kids. I don’t know why. I’m way more sarcastic with them than I ought to be, though, and I laugh at things that I definitely shouldn’t. I will probably scar them for life, but I suppose that’s inevitable and a parent’s job. So – way to go, me! I’ll receive that 2010 Mothering Award any day now. You are all invited to the big ceremony.

I don’t say any of this to defend my behaviors. I’m usually appalled at myself at the conclusion of my fits. And I do think it’s funny how those FB quizzes can really tell us a little something about ourselves. Maybe God will use FB quizzes to refine me?... if I’ll let Him.

“Know thyself.” - Socrates
Then, “Get a grip.” – Jennifer Richardson

P.S. – During any of the above situations, I am undoubtedly making sarcastic remarks and Jim faces, just to be true to my full FB personality report.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Authentic Faith

One of my favorite books is called “Authentic Faith.” It is written by Gary Thomas. I like him. I like the things that God has given him to say. They aren’t fluffy or comfortable things. They are tough things. They are wise things.

The description of “Authentic Faith,” according to, is below.

“Many Christian books address spiritual growth, but few have as much potential for impact as this book by Thomas (Sacred Marriage and Sacred Pathways), a veteran writer and speaker in evangelical Christian circles as well as a teacher of spiritual formation at Western Seminary. Thomas is able to communicate many deep insights from the heritage of classical Christian faith in a cultural and spiritual idiom that will resonate well with evangelicals. Rather than discussing the traditional spiritual disciplines (e.g., fasting, prayer or Bible study), Thomas focuses on the spiritual disciplines that are initiated by God rather than by believers: selflessness, waiting, endurance, persecution, social mercy, forgiveness, mourning, contentment, sacrifice, and rewards and punishments. Each chapter explores a discipline with memorable illustrations, Scriptural foundations, insights from classical Christian writers and references to current life situations and struggles. Thomas's discussion of mourning as a spiritual discipline is particularly insightful: "Mourning invites us to a deeper life," he explains. "It takes us beyond the surface to give us a glimpse of the world as God sees it." Despite the difficult nature of many of the topics, the book offers an overarching sense of a deep joy and meaning that can be obtained by seeking God through life's darkest times. Thomas provides an unusually compassionate discussion of many painful circumstances, offering a fresh perspective of wisdom and hope.”

Selflessness. Waiting. Endurance. Persecution. Social Mercy. Forgiveness. Mourning. Contentment. Sacrifice. Rewards and Punishments. Why do I like this book? Sounds pretty depressing, I know, but the truth is that God is in all of these disciplines. God can use them if we allow Him. God can and does take what is tragic and difficult and make it beautiful and glorious. I think that all of us have a longing for something deeper. We are drawn to stories of tragedy and triumph. Our hearts long for drama. God made us this way. It is sometimes hard to recognize when we are in the midst of our own struggles, I know it is for me…. But part of us WANTS to struggle. The Holy Spirit in us is ready for the fight. Our flesh tells us that we are weak and afraid. Our God tells us we are overcomers, more than conquerors. We have a daily choice to believe ourselves or our God. And when we choose our God…. WOW. Those triumphs are glorious. When we know it was HE who overcame, it is amazing. It is awe-inspiring. God has drawn us in and allowed us to see the big picture, HIS big picture, HIS story. We’ve succeeded in an opportunity to play a part. Praise Him for letting us be a part of His big picture!

There was a story in this book that particularly struck a cord with me. Thomas was writing about the Christian call to social mercy. He was telling of a group of Christians in Africa who were ambushed and killed inside a church building. A terrorist group tortured and murdered many of them. AND GOD WAS THERE. God was in that church building, hearing His people call to Him for mercy. He released them and took them home to be with Him, but HE SAW IT. He was there. He was in it. THIS is why God cares about social mercy. HE’S THERE. God is everywhere. He sits with the child dying of malnutrition and His heart breaks for her. He is with her. He knows that His other children can help her. He is DESPERATE for His other children to help her. Can you imagine sitting with your own starving children and not being desperate for help, for action? That is the position that our God is in.

This story made me think of something that Francis Chan is passionate about, and discusses in his book, “Forgotten God.” God placed the horrific crime of child trafficking heavy on his heart. He has been called crazy for how passionately he pursues the rescue and release of these children. Why is he crazy? Because God allowed Francis to see these children as if they were his own physical daughters! I WOULD STOP AT NOTHING TO RESCUE MY CHILDREN. We would ALL be crazy. We would fight. JUSTICE would prevail.

So, ignore the excuses that “we can’t save them all, we can only do so much, we are ill-equipped, someone else is doing it.” GOD WANTS JUSTICE FOR HIS CHILDREN. GOD WANTS RESCUE FOR HIS CHILDREN.

“The condition for a miracle is difficulty, however the condition for a great miracle is not difficulty, but impossibility.” – Faith Like Potatoes

Cultivate a faith of substance. Act. Be crazy. Rescue. Overcome. Be part of the impossible. Do something, anything. Faith without works is dead. WE ARE ALIVE!

So here are some small things you can do.

1. Sponsor a child through Compassion International or World Vision.,
2. Check out World Vision’s gift catalog.§ion=10389
3. Give shoes to Tied Together! (Contact ME!)
4. Collect cans for this family who is trying to adopt a baby.
5. Give to your church.
6. Serve in or give to the homeless, the City Rescue Mission, Trinity Rescue Mission, or the Sulzbacher Center., ,
7. Volunteer at a pregnancy crisis center.
8. Become a big brother or big sister.
9. Shop at thrift stores! (There are lots.)
10. Pray. Give someone a hug. Tell someone you love them. Do more than complain about the way things are. Take action. CHANGE the way things are.
11. And lots more…. If you’ve got something people can do, feel free to post it below!

Friday, March 5, 2010

So Long, Insecurity!

So Beth Moore's got a new book out, called "So Long, Insecurity: You've Been a Bad Friend to Us." I haven't read the book, but I have been reading along with the Living Proof Ministries blog that accompanies it. Just made me think of how often insecurity can get the best of any of us, and I thought I'd bust out this bit 'o truth again... Hope it blesses you and reminds you of your true identity!

The truest things about me are what God says about me. (I Cor 4:3-4).

In Christ I am a child of God, born of God. (John 1:12-13)
In Christ I am being saved by His life. (Romans 5:10)
In Christ I am free from condemnation. (Romans 8:1)
In Christ I am an heir of God, joint heir with Christ. (Romans 8:17)
In Christ I am a saint. (Romans 8:27)
In Christ I am accepted. (Romans 15:7)
In Christ I am a possessor of the mind of Christ. (I Corinthians 2:16)
In Christ I am a new creature. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
In Christ I am the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
In Christ I am blessed with every spiritual blessing. (Ephesians 1:3)
In Christ I am adopted as God's child. (Ephesians 1:5)
In Christ I am God's workmanship created for good works. (Ephesians 2:10)
In Christ I am a member of God's household. (Ephesians 2:19)
In Christ I am a citizen of heaven. (Philippians 3:20)
In Christ I am holy and blameless and beyond reproach. (Colossians 1:22)
In Christ I am complete (perfect). (Colossians 2:10)
In Christ I am alive and forgiven of all my transgressions. (Colossians 2:13)
In Christ I am a member of a royal priesthood. (I Peter 2:9)
In Christ I am a partaker of God's divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4)
In Christ I am given eternal life today. (I John 5:11-13)
In Christ I am released from my sins. (Revelation 1:5)

Renewing my mind brings about transformation.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove that the will of God is that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Shoes and Such

Looks like Tied Together will be sending a shoe shipment to Ethiopia on March 17th. If you have new or gently used shoes to give, let me know ASAP. :)