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Tag Archives: Valentine's Day

  • Weekly Dishcloth: Super Romantic Dishcloths for Valentine's Day!

    Can dishcloths be romantic?  I don't see why not.  I really like the Sweetheart pattern from Holiday Knit Dishcloths

    If the picture looks familiar, it's because I've made this project and talked about it before.  I was going to knit this in a different color for today, but I could not knit a dishcloth this weekend to save my life--or to at least drum up enough content for a blog post. 

    Seriously, I tried out 2 patterns 3 different times and it was not pretty. 

    The top of the heart got all mangled.  This is what happens when you try to count at knit night.

    But Valentine's Day is just a short little while away!  I wanted to talk about dishcloths with hearts.  They're a nice way to dress up your kitchen.  They're nice gifts to give to people you love, whether in the romantic sense or not.

    Plus, knitted hearts are so darn adorable.

    See? So darn adorable.

    So I thought I'd at least mention that this is a great pattern to make when you're not in some sinus-aggrieved hell because Holiday Knit Dishcloths has plenty of cute patterns for holidays, but I think the Sweetheart pattern is my favorite because I love these two simple lines that 'draw' a heart in the knitted fabric.  It's just so cute.  I gave it to a cousin as a wedding present this past fall, because I'm cutesy like that.

    If one heart--however beautiful--is not for you, there's always Dishcloths from the Heart.

    There's not an ebook version of this available, but the more I look through the project pages of these patterns on Ravelry the more I think I might go ahead and order this.  Surely I could I could knit a couple of those lovely dishcloths before Valentine's Day, right?  This could be the cure for my bad-dishcloth-knitting affliction!

    I may be a little biased since I believe there's nothing a good dishcloth pattern can't fix, but whatever.  It certainly can't hurt!

  • Heart Garland for the Holidays

    I made some heart garland!  I had the Treasury of Holiday Crochet and some stash yarn, so I guess really anything was possible.

    It made sense at the time.

    I just get excited about holidays!  And I love Valentine's Day.  My husband and I aren't particularly romantic, but I really enjoy sending Valentines to friends and family.  I absolutely adore buying chocolate on February 15 for 75% off.  And I like to decorate with red and pink together.

    I really enjoy red and pink together.  And that's why I thought a little strand of pink and red hearts together would be lovely for February.

    I modified the Tree Hearts Ornaments pattern from Treasury of Holiday Crochet.  And by "modified," I actually just mean that I crocheted one heart instead of two because I'm didn't stitch hearts together and stuff them.  But wouldn't it be so cute if I did?!  A puffy heart garland?!?!?!

    I can't believe I'm just now thinking of this.  Man.  Maybe next year.

    Ugh.  Anyway, I'm going to push past my regret to tell you about what I did to make this garland.  There's not much to it.  I just used different yarns.  I thought it would be cute to have hearts of different sizes, but I'm realizing bulky weight yarn is probably the best for not curling up.  The large hearts are made from the leftover yarn I had after making some handwarmers.  The pink is some super fine yarn that I bought and have no clue what to use for (but I do know I should have gone down a hook size or two with it).

    And the middle heart?

    It's some Vanna's Choice that must have come from...somewhere.  I really need to sort through my stash more often.  Sheesh.

    I used the dark red yarn to crochet a simple chain with a few single crochet stitches across the tops of the hearts.

    This is a happy little addition to our kitchen window.  The festive colors brighten up the Boring Apartment Beige of the walls (I think that must be an actual paint color), and my daughter smiles every time she looks at it.


    I have to admit, I do too.

  • I [heart] Valentine's Day: Knitting a Hat with Heart.

    It's never too early to get excited about Valentine's Day!  Which is why I started getting excited a couple of weeks ago.  I started my holiday crafting a little while ago and wanted to start talking about Valentine projects.  So I'm going to.

    I'm pretty excited that I'm starting with this:

    It's the Have a Heart pattern from Warm Hats for Wee Noggins.

    I love how many holiday patterns are in this book because I just love holidays.  And knitting holiday hats for itty bitty people? It thrills me to my very soul. 

     I made the Basic Paper Bag Hat pattern this Christmas in some crazy variegated yarn for my daughter and my nephew.  It's some nice mindless knitting--I made these both on the car ride to my sister's house a few hours away.  These are worked flat in garter stitch and then you stitch up the hat and draw it up.

    My recipients were so pleased.

    Since they loved they loved their festive-looking Christmas hats so much, I knew some Valentine hats would be greatly appreciated.

    The fun part for me is that this is the Basic Paper Bag Hat with a sweet little garter stitch heart.  I got started on my little girl's hat first, and I've been working on this while watching television before bed.  That probably explains why this is a bit larger than I expected.

    I would ordinarily knit this with Size 6 or 7 needles, but I went ahead and used some Size 8s because they're new and knit incredibly smoothly I wanted this to knit up quickly.   It went, um, very quickly.  That's fine.  Just more room to grow.

    The heart is just 18 rows of trickery, and you'll breeze right through that as long as you remember to leave a tail long enough to sew it on. 

    I nearly forgot in my excitement because I was distracted by how cute my little girl will be in this!

    Or at least I'd intended to be excited to see her in this.  Some time between casting on and binding off, my daughter went from saying "I LOVE Valentine's hat!" to "No thank you. I don't need a Valentine's hat."  Maybe she'll change her mind by the time of the actual day.

    And even if she doesn't, I've already cast on a hat for her little cousin.  He's still too small to fight me on these things, and I think I've got a glorious year of season hat projects ahead of me.

    I can't wait to take a picture of two cuties wearing these hats pulled over their little grouchy faces!
  • Happy Valentine's Day!

    It's Valentine's Day!

    I hope you're with people you love, doing something you love, or just feeling lots of love and goodness this Valentine's Day.

    I'm looking forward to dinner with my family, working some more on a dishcloth, and feeling lots of love--or whatever it is that you feel when you eat a lot of chocolate.

    These are the Valentines I made for my family.  I knitted my husband a Zimmerman heart patch and couldn't figure out how I wanted to attach it to cardstock.  So I just knitted a little swatch, stitched it to the heart, and stuck a love note in the pocket.  I didn't bother with a card for my little girl this year (yes, I might have gotten a little carried away with Baby's First Valentine's Day last year and made one for her), but I cut out a heart with some felt and sewed a face on it because she likes hearts and smiley faces.

    I'm currently knitting the Rib and Welt Dishcloth from Easy Textured Knits.  I'm still not asking much of my brain or my fingers right now.  I'm using Sugar'n Cream yarn on Size 5 needles.  It's a gift for a friend who's getting married and will be having a shower next month!  Loooooove!

    There's not a picture of my Valentine's Day chocolate.  I may or may not have 'taken care of it' already.  But let's just say I'm feeling lots of love--or whatever it is that you feel when you eat a lot of chocolate--today.  I hope you do, too.

    Happy Valentine's Day and happy crafting!

  • Valentine’s Dinner Menu

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Y’all!

    Picture it. (You’ll have to use your imagination ’cause I got no pictures for this blog post!) You’re on a Greek Island with your special someone. Soft music plays in the background while tantalizing aromas waft through the open window from the courtyard below...

    Okay, in real life, you just got off work…fought rush hour traffic…it’s Valentine’s evening on a weeknight (holidays should not be scheduled during the work week)…your significant other has no interest in standing in line at a restaurant (in fact, he’s standing there staring at you, and you know the next words out of his mouth aren’t going to be, “Honey, I love you...” but rather, “What’s for supper?”)—and you yourself would actually like to magically manage a vaguely romantic Valentine’s meal. I think I can help solve your problem. Try my quick and easy Greek Dinner for Two, Four, Six… (Continue being real, folks…you know you’re not getting rid of the kids on a weeknight...)

    • Buy frozen mini philo cups.
    • Mix together softened cream cheese, a handful of sharp cheddar cheese, a couple of chopped green onions, and cayenne pepper to taste. (Leave the onions and cayenne out of some of them if you’re feeding kids and tell them it’s cheese pie!)
    • Stuff the cream cheese mixture into the philo cups and bake at 350 degrees about 10-15 minutes.

    Light some candles and serve the hot appetizers with a glass of wine. (Just tell the counter person at the liquor store about your meal and ask for a good bottle of wine in your price range.) Give the kids wine glasses filled with apple juice, so they can celebrate, too.

    Greek Chicken
    • Season two (or more) boneless, skinless chicken breasts with Greek Seasoning (Cavender’s is a good choice).
    • Sauté the chicken breasts in butter and the juice from a whole lemon. (If you’re lazy like me and don’t want to stand there and watch chicken cook, roll the seasoned chicken in olive oil and lemon and then grill it on an electric grill.)

    Greek Potatoes
    • Drain one (or more) can(s) of sliced (or cubed) potatoes.
    • Sauté the potatoes in butter, the juice from a whole lemon, and Greek Seasoning to taste.

    Greek Salad
    • Top bagged lettuce from the store with kalamata olives, a few grape tomatoes, and feta cheese.
    • Splash on a little oil and vinegar.

    Dish it all up on gorgeous plates and set out a basket of warmed pita bread and cool Tzatziki. (Don’t get excited. It’s just a sauce.)

    • Peel a cucumber and cut it into thin strips; then, cut the strips into small pieces. Drain well and add salt.
    • Mix the cucumber with 2-4 cloves of minced garlic, a little vinegar, and ¾ cup of plain yogurt.
    • Add some olive oil (just a little at a time).
    • Garnish with olives.
    • Cover and chill for 30 min.

    (But if you hate cucumbers or Tzatziki sounds like too much trouble to make…just set out a bowl of sour cream. It tastes really nice with a bite of chicken on a pita chip!)

    Who has time to make dessert? Just get some baklava from your favorite bakery on the way home, make some really good coffee, and round off the evening watching a DVD of My Big Fat Greek Wedding while the object of your affections dozes in his recliner...

    So really, what are your (G-rated) plans for the most romantic night of the year?

  • Kitchen Collectibles & A Free Valentine’s Recipe

    With Valentine’s Day coming up (Gulp…I’m not ready!) tomorrow, I thought you might enjoy taking a look at designer friend Becky’s collection of kitchen goodies, and she’s also kindly agreed to share her own personal Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookie recipe with us!

    I love her vintage metal measuring utensils!

    And look at all the cookie cutters! (I’m experiencing severe cookie cutter envy!)

    Hope you enjoy Becky’s recipe:

    Sugar Cookies
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1/2 cup margarine, softened
    1-1/2 cups confectioners sugar
    1 egg
    1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    3/4 teaspoon almond extract
    2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon soda
    1 teaspoon cream of tartar
    granulated sugar

    Mix butter, margarine, confectioners sugar, egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Add in flour, soda, and cream of tartar. Cover and chill 2-3 hours.

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Divide dough in half. Roll each half to 3/16" thick on floured board. Cut into shapes and sprinkle with sugar. Place on lightly greased baking sheet and bake 7-8 minutes.

    Yield: About 5 dozen cookies

    Here’s Becky’s finished result. She bakes them up ahead of time before Valentine’s Day (evidently she has better time management skills than I do) and puts them in the freezer. When she’s ready, she pulls them out and gets started decorating!

    She just makes up icing from confectioner's sugar, a little water, and food coloring until she gets a good consistency (not too runny or thick). She spoons it into a ziploc bag and seals the bag tightly. Then, she cuts off a tiny tip from one corner and pipes icing onto the cookies.

    Yummy! Thanks for sharing your creativity with us, Becky!

  • Designer Anne Decorates For Valentine’s Day!

    {Designer friend Anne is our guest blogger today on Everyday Life at Leisure! She’s decorating for Valentine’s Day!}

    Decorating For Valentine’s!
    Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and with it, a great opportunity to pull some things together to display on my kitchen counter. Something with cleaner lines, bright red, and a fresher look than the “wintery” one that replaced Christmas.

    I didn’t really think I had very much in the way of Valentine décor, so I just started looking around and surprised myself by coming up with a fun collection of things from around my house that make me smile. I went to look in the linen closet for something to put down as the base of my display. I got a linen table runner and just left it folded in half to make it the right size. I saw some pillowcases that my grandmother had done chicken scratch handwork on and remembered a heart apron she had also made. Got the apron from the dresser in the dining room. Then, I simply grabbed red anything—a couple of odd plates, an empty candy box, candle tin, a bunch of tulips, and a skein of red yarn.

    I decided to wind the yarn into a ball and thought it would be fun to fill the slots in the candy box. Into the box went the yarn, a couple of pictures of my kiddos and a needlepoint pincushion with a heart. I placed the runner center stage on my counter, laid the apron at one corner, and fluffed it until satisfied.

    Then I gathered a few hearts from here and there that were mixed in with my regular décor. Together, they filled one of the plates nicely and softened the edge of the candy box in my display.

    Filling a vase with shredded paper, I also added a bunch of red tulips. These gave the display the height that it needed. Took one last look…leaned a red plate against the vase and added a few scrapbook flower elements as the finishing touch. Smile.

    The kitchen window needed a little splash, too. I took an old water bottle, filled it with red flowers (can’t remember what they are called right now), and stuck them up on the sill. From my workroom, I brought out two old chalk boards (remember the new trend with chalk boards) and wrote, “Happy Valentine’s Day.” Then I added a couple of red apples (real and glass) and a couple of red plates. The plates are so cool. They are square, a really great color for using throughout the year. They are from Pottery Barn (my favorite place) and were given to me by my Leisure Arts co-worker and friend—Becky. They make me happy. I guess you can’t see from my picture…but there is also a red bowl of chocolate candy just to the right of the apple. What would Valentine’s be with out chocolate candy?

    I also did some tulip arrangements for the tables at a coffee hour for church which meant I had to watch my budget and still get a bang for my buck. With that in mind, I grabbed the three squared off vases that I already had—one for each table. Then, I bought vase crystals and one bunch of tulips.

    The tulips I bought were silk, but you could use real. If you chose the silk, cut each stem off of the bunch so you have individual flowers. Shape them softly by pinching the stem as you run the stem down your hand. This gives the flower a more natural lean, instead of a straight erect look. Place the stems as you like in each vase.

    The curled stem in a short vase is a popular “look” right now in floral, so I used that for the smallest vase. I kept it clean and simple only three flowers, a leaf on only one.

    I decided to see what the taller vase was going to need to look full. The curled idea wasn’t going to work here—the vase was taller than the flowers. Okay, make that a part of the design…let the flowers stand tall. Well, they aren’t quite tall enough to clear the top of the comes the crystals.

    Fill the bottom of the vase with the crystals, then add the tulips back. Again, clean, simple.

    Okay that left me with more tulips to work with in the medium vase—it is fatter any way, so I needed more. I added the rest of the tulips from the bunch and shaped them with a slight curve. They filled the vase nicely.

    Since I used the crystals in the tall vase I decided to add them to the other two vases for continuity. A quick and easy project, done.

  • Becky’s Making Valentine Banners Again!

    If you’ve been following Everyday Life at Leisure for awhile, you might remember our designer friend Becky’s Valentine’s Rick Rack Banner from last Valentine’s Day. Well, The Banner Queen’s at it again!

    Check out this year’s banner goodness! Pretty sweet, huh? (Notice how she’s added pennants to last year’s Valentine’s Rick Rack Banner?)

    And she says it’s easy! She just cuts shapes out of cardstock (some of it Valentine-themed to make it easy), red and white felt, plus a few buttons, a little rick rack…

    And heads for her sewing machine!

    Look at how simple…She just sews her shapes (paper or felt) together! Then she tacks or glues the felt, buttons, and rick rack together to embellish her banners as she desires.

    Finally, I just couldn’t resist showing you this great shadowy photo of Becky’s banners in her window! Too cool!

    What kind of special or traditional Valentine’s decorating do you do?

  • A Paper Craft Peek & Valentine’s Freebie

    Paper crafters! Are you looking for beautiful layouts you can create in under an hour? You need the Easier-Than-Ever Scrapbooking Treasury!

    This big book is packed with the kind of layouts scrapbookers crave most: basic two-page layouts with multiphoto designs. Chapter 1, “Pages from the Pantry (Just the Basics),” provides incredible layouts that can be scraplifted (used to inspire new scrapbook designs) using basic supplies and photos. Later chapters offer layouts that show scrapbookers how using just 1 to 3 additional tools or supplies can add flavor and personality to their pages. This banquet of inspiration is designed to whet the appetites of scrapbookers and stimulate their creative juices.

    (I just love how this book relates scrapbooking and food—two of my favorite things!)

    And now for a little taste right from the pages of the Easier-Than-Ever Scrapbooking Treasury—from us to you…Hope this easy Valentine’s layout gets you inspired.

    All you need to make these pretty Valentine’s pages is about 20 minutes and the following supplies from your “pantry”—
    3 sheets of cardstock
    1 sheet of patterned paper (text)
    2 pieces of rickrack
    8 staples
    1 sheet of letter stickers
    1 sheet of rub-on letters
    1 pen
    1 inkpad
    5 photographs

    1. Mount your focal-point photo on patterned paper. Rub the edges with black ink, then mat again on black cardstock. Adhere the matted photo to the left page of the layout. On the right page, attach four photos in a grid pattern.
    2. Ink the edges of a strip of patterned paper and attach it to the top of the right page. Add stickers to create the title, apply a rub-on date, and handwrite your journaling.
    3. Finish the design by stapling two pieces of rickrack to your layout.

    For more great layouts like this one, add Easier-Than-Ever Scrapbooking Treasury to your paper craft library!

  • Free Chocolate Candy Recipe For Valentine’s Day!

    Happy Saturday All! One of my favorite food holidays is coming up—Valentine’s Day, so I’ve spent this morning researching the perfect candy to make this year! The Love-Of-My-Life is a raspberry fan, so, in particular, I’ve been looking for raspberry recipes, and I think I’ve found the perfect one—Raspberry Chocolates from our Leisure Arts Best of Gifts of Good Taste Everyday!

    If you like the idea of gourmet chocolates that even a novice candy maker like me can handle, check out this recipe:

    6 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
    6 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
    1/2 cup raspberry jelly

    In separate small saucepans, melt chocolates over low heat, stirring constantly. Pour semisweet chocolate into a warm pie plate. Drizzle white chocolate over semisweet chocolate. Use the end of a wooden spoon to swirl together. Do not overmix. In batches, fill a bonbon mold half full with chocolate mixture. Using a small paintbrush, carefully brush chocolate mixture up sides of mold. Place mold in freezer 2 minutes or until chocolate hardens. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon raspberry jelly into each chocolate shell. Spoon a small amount of chocolate mixture over jelly, making sure edges are sealed. Return to freezer 2 minutes or until chocolate hardens. Invert and press on back of mold to release candies. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

    Yield: about 2-1/2 dozen 1-1/8-inch bonbons

    If you like this recipe, be sure to check out the cookbook it came from—Best of Gifts of Good Taste Everyday! This is really a pretty cool book! It pairs great recipes with crafty gifts for twice the fun, plus, it’s a flip book.

    After you’ve enjoyed Best of Gifts of Good Taste Everyday, just flip it over for Best of Gifts of Good Taste Christmas!

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