Family Christmas Stockings

My family has had matching Christmas stockings for many generations.  My great-grandmother made them for every new member of the family.  Each stocking matched the others, and the person’s name was cross-stitched on the top.  People would order stockings from my great-grandma from all over the world.  She made them for many years.  After she passed away, we all wondered how we would continue to have matching stockings for new family members.

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Matching Christmas stockings hanging on the mantle

Several years ago, my mom found the pattern that my great-grandma used to make the stockings.  It was very difficult to read, so I kind of brushed it aside.  My crafty cousin was able to decipher the pattern and recreate this treasured family item.  A few weeks ago, I decided to try to tackle crocheting one of these stockings for myself.  I typed out the pattern so that I could read it easily as I worked.  After consulting with my cousin a couple of times, I got to work.

During my first attempt, after several hours, I got 2 rows from the top of the stocking, and I realized something looked WAY off.  I unraveled the whole thing!  When I restarted, I ended up tangling my yarn.  (Yarn and I get in to some serious arguments!)  I worked several HOURS on trying to untangle it.  I finally gave up and just cut it!

The next challenge came when trying to put the name “Savannah” on the stocking.  My great-grandma always said it was difficult to fit “Danielle” on the stocking, and she had to make adjustments to some of the letters in order for it to fit.  The reason Savannah didn’t have one yet on her 3rd Christmas is because my cousin couldn’t get her name to fit.  She really doesn’t have a shortened nickname yet, so we weren’t ever sure what to put.  I tried my hardest to adjust the letters to make her name fit, but no matter what, it wouldn’t work.  Finally I decided to just put “Vannah.”  Imagine my surprise when I found that the standard lettering wouldn’t allow Vannah to fit either.  Using graph paper (as suggested by my super smart cousin), I adjusted the letters to fit.  When I stitched them out, I got to the last leg of the “H” when I realized it wouldn’t fit.  I had to pull everything out and start 2 stitches back.  That worked, and I was finally able to finish it.

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Savannah’s stocking is a little bit bigger than the Mom and Dad ones my cousin made.  I tend to crochet tight, so I tried to consciously make my stitches loose.  It resulted in a bigger stocking, but I am okay with that because at least her stocking matches ours.

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Stockings made by my cousin

This week I made another stocking for little one on the way.  I made sure to make my stitches tight this time so it would be closer to the size of the others.  Turns out I made the stitches too tight, and his stocking is smaller than ours!  Now I know for the next one I make to just crochet as I normally would and it should end up a size in between, which will be perfect!

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The size difference between baby and Savannah’s stockings.  (I couldn’t put his name yet and ruin the surprise!)

 

 


On another note, tonight I opened an Etsy shop.  None of my creations are on there yet, but they will be soon.  For now, some of Scott’s Can Cars (actually the motorcycles) are on there.  It will probably be a variety shop.  Until I post actual listings, feel free to request a custom order if you have seen something I’ve made that you want for yourself!

Here is a link to the shop: Delicate Dani Designs

Let me know in the comments what you would like to see in the shop!

 

 

(If you are interested in opening your own shop on Etsy, let me know.  If I send you a referral link, you get 40 free listings, and I get 40 free listings.)

 

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Neglected Blog

Things the last few months have been super crazy, and the blog has unfortunately taken a back seat.  A lot has happened since I posted last.  Here are some of the things that have happened:

  • Savannah Banana turned 2 years old, and we had a birthday party to celebrate
  • We announced that we are having another baby…Yep I am pregnant! (Due in early February)
  • My baby sister graduated from high school
  • I worked TONS of overtime in June and July
  • We visited the Detroit Zoo a few times
  • We went to a Detroit Tiger’s game
  • Lots of time was spent in the pool
  • Savannah saw her first movie in theaters (Minions)
  • We went on a few pontoon rides
  • We went to a fun family reunion
  • We went to Indiana on a family camping trip
  • My parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary!
  • Most recently, I accepted a new job

I will write individual posts on some of these events, but for now, I will just post some picture highlights.

Visits to the Detroit Zoo

Visits to the Detroit Zoo

Savannah's first movie

Savannah’s first movie

family reunion

pontoon fun

Hopefully it won’t be too long before I am able to write my next post!

Our First Camping Trip

When my husband and I were still dating, we went camping in a tent a few times.  Most often it was rustic camping, and I would have to drive myself to the bathroom (I have never been able to pee outside!)  There were no showers, and we spent most of our time canoeing and drinking.

This past winter, we bought a camper.  It is a 24 foot Coachmen.  It has no slides, 1 bedroom, a set of bunks, a bathroom with a tub, a kitchen and a dinette.  Here are some pictures of the camper.

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Kitchen area

Kitchen area

Dinette

Dinette

Bedroom

Bedroom

More of the bedroom

More of the bedroom

Bathroom

Bathroom

Bunks

Bunks

While we would love to have a little bit more space with a bigger camper, this one is just big enough.  If it were any longer, we would have to pay for storage.  I made the divider curtain for the bedroom, the curtains for the bunks, and the sheets for the bunks.

For our first trip, we went to a private camping resort.  When we bought our camper, we received free nights of camping at the resort.  They of course attempted to sell us a membership which is required to camp there, but it comes with a big price tag!

We left on Friday morning.  We brought the dogs with us and had to figure out how we were all going to fit in the truck.  The plan was to have one in the back seat and one in the front seat.  We didn’t even make it off of our street before we realized that wouldn’t work.  Neither dog was willing to lay down when they were in front which meant my husband couldn’t see the trailer in the mirrors.  We stopped and squeezed them both in the back.  It looked like it would be tight but it ended up working out.  We had given our white dog Maverick an anti-anxiety medication from the vet before we left because he has so much anxiety with car rides.  It was the first time we had given it to him and they said to start with one.  It did not help at all.  (We ended up giving him 2 on the way home which worked much better!)  We had some trouble during the drive.  We had a guy pull up in a trunk and honk.  When we rolled down the window, he told us our bike was dragging!  Hubby pulled over and said the bike rack was broke (it was the first time we had even used it, and we only had 2 bikes on it).  Hubby put one bike in the bed of the truck, and the other inside the camper.  Fortunately, my bike was okay despite dragging on the freeway!

wpid-20150501_095334.jpgAt this campground, you pick your site when you get there.  There weren’t many people there when we arrived, so we had almost too many sites to choose from.  I saw a couple of young kids running around near a few campers, so I suggested picking a site near them.  We also needed a site with the one next to it available for my husband’s cousin and her husband.  For our first time setting up, it went rather smoothly.  After we thought we were hooked up to power for an hour, we realized the fridge wasn’t working.  It turned out the breaker we were hooked to didn’t work.  I then realized that hubby had plugged in to the wrong site’s power.  We switched it to the one that was for our site and the power worked.  I had to use my critical thinking skills to hook up the awning tie-downs since we couldn’t find the directions.  Hubby was proud of me for figuring that out! 🙂  We brought a big screened in tent to put the picnic table under.  After setting it all up, we realized it wouldn’t fit well anywhere on the site.  It was also pretty windy, so we were getting frustrated.  Hubby decided that we just weren’t going to use it, and he took it down.

Surprisingly, we only forgot a few things (hubby’s deodorant, baby sunscreen which we actually did have but hubby couldn’t find, and second stake for the dog tie outs).  Fortunately for us, my mother-in-law doesn’t live far from the campsite and she was coming to visit anyway, so she offered to stop at the store for the things we forgot.  We also had to have her pick up bigger trash bags because the ones we had didn’t fit our outdoor trash.

Once we were all set up, we had a great weekend!  The weather was incredible: sunny and warm with a light breeze!  We had friends and family come visit, we went on walks and bike rides, went fishing (we didn’t catch anything), played tennis, ladderball, and euchre, went on a paddleboat, and went swimming in the indoor pool.  We also spent each night around the campfire. Here are some pictures from the weekend:

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Savannah got to meet a state trooper.  He gave her a sticker and coloring book!

Savannah got to meet a state trooper. He gave her a sticker and coloring book!

Savannah trying her first s'more.

Savannah trying her first s’more.

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I gained a pound and a half after the weekend.  I am not super upset about it because I know I didn’t follow the program 100%.  Overall I did well, but I wish I had done a little better for the sake of the competition.

I learned a few things from this first camping trip:

  • A toddler is always going to be dirty while camping.  We just made her use some hand sanitizer before she ate.
  • Use the least amount of dishes possible.  Washing dishes in that teeny tiny sink isn’t fun.
  • If the bathhouse is nice, plan to shower there.  The shower in the camper is super tiny.  And it is impossible to shave your legs in it!
  • We need to get something to make our bed more comfortable.  The mattress is awful!  My back hurt so bad from sleeping on it!

I can’t wait for our next camping trip!  We plan to bring a little bit less stuff this time though!

What are some tips you can share that you have learned from camping?

Baby Signing

A lot of parents-to-be say they are interested in teaching their new little one “baby sign.”  I’ve heard many parents of toddlers say “Oh, we were going to teach our baby to sign, but we forgot about it.”  I am so lucky that I am not one of those parents.  I am not in any way saying those parents are wrong or bad, but my life would be so much more frustrating if I hadn’t followed through with baby signing and encourage the other caregivers in my daughter’s life to do the same.

My almost 2-year-old has a minor speech delay.  We saw a speech therapist for an evaluation a few months ago, and she was a little behind, but she wasn’t delayed enough to qualify for speech therapy.  Like any toddler, Savannah throws her fair share of temper tantrums.  Many tantrums come from frustration.  I can tell you, if she did not know how to sign, the number of daily tantrums thrown would probably be tripled.  Savannah “says” quite a few words, but many of the words are hard to distinguish.  Approximately 75% of the words she currently says I would not understand without a sign accompanying it.

Going from the top of my head, here are the signs Savannah knows:

  • Mom
  • Dad
  • Grandma
  • Grandpa
  • Aunt
  • Baby
  • Sign
  • Horse
  • Cat
  • Dog
  • Bird/Duck
  • Bear
  • Wind
  • Rain
  • Please
  • Thank You
  • Sorry
  • Yes
  • All Done
  • Bubbles
  • Bike
  • Car
  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Grapes
  • Juice
  • Milk
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Cry
  • Hat
  • Shoes
  • Socks
  • Cracker
  • Cereal
  • Tree
  • Leaf
  • Wind
  • Rain
  • Play
  • Hot
  • Cold
  • Water
  • Dirty
  • Pretty
  • Sleep

There may be more, but that is all I can think of right now.  Most of those signs she knows really well.  There are a few that she needs a reminder before she’ll sign, like grass, car, tree, shoes and socks.

So, you want to know how we taught her to sign, right?  It really wasn’t too hard.  Baby signing is based on American Sign Language.  I had a very limited knowledge of ASL from college; really, the only thing I could remember was my alphabet.  Our success came from starting when she was young.  She was about 6 months old when I really started using certain signs consistently.  I started out with just a few that we could use everyday, like milk, mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa.  She didn’t sign them back for several months, but she got to the point that I would sign something while saying the word out loud, and she would get excited.  Once she understood those few signs, I borrowed some DVDs from the library.  The DVDs I have had the most success with have been the “Baby Signing Time” series.

This program shows the sign, says the word, and usually shows a picture of whatever the word is.  They then go on to show babies and toddlers using the signs.  Watching these DVDs with Savannah has been the key to learning sign myself.  There is lots of music in these DVDs, and she LOVES watching them.  She frequently asks to watch them.  There have been times she will pick up a sign that I do not know, and all I have to do is go back and watch the DVD with her to figure it out.  We haven’t moved on to the “Signing Time” DVDs yet, but I’m sure we will soon.

There are a few things that Savannah loves that “Baby Signing Time” doesn’t cover.  For example, she loves yogurt, cheese and grapes.  To learn those signs myself, I visited http://www.babysignlanguage.com/.  I would then teach her the sign.  This website has an extensive dictionary.  When you find the word you are looking for, click on the word, and it will take you to a page where there is a short video showing how to sign the word, a description of how to sign the word, a picture showing the sign, the usage for the sign and links to related signs.  It uses multiple learning styles, which is really nice since we all learn in different ways!  I haven’t spent a whole lot of time on the website, but there is a shop where you can purchase different things like books, charts, flashcards, DVDs and kits.

Baby sign has saved us so much frustration.  The key to teaching your baby is repetition.  Also, it is really important that you teach other people who spend a lot of time with your child basic signs, or they will experience the same frustration you are trying to avoid!

If you have any questions about how we taught Savannah sign, please feel free to ask!

*All of the opinions about the above materials are my own.  I have no relationship with the companies, and I am not receiving any commission.  I am recommending them because I love them!

Welcome

I have been wanting to start a blog forever, but I never knew what I would write about.  I finally took the plunge, although I am still unsure what I will publish!  I will talk a lot about my family, a little about being a nurse, and I will probably throw in some crafts here and there.  I have always been able to write decently; however, I have always struggled with picking topics to write about.  If you happen to stumble across this blog and have a topic request or question, feel free to let me know!

We will leave this first post short and sweet!