Aunt Nana’s Crochet: Sock Monkey Girl Beanie

Most people know that I am a beginning crocheter, and my best work comes from watching videos rather than following a pattern. Yesterday,  I tried out this free You Tube Video tutorial for a Girl Sock Monkey Beanie by Sabrina at Havoc Mayhem Creations. So stinking cute! There are four videos.

Unlike the tutorial, I fashioned my own eyes instead of sewing on real buttons. I would rather not put buttons on a wearable for a little one. The last thing I would want is for a young one to choke from wearing my creation. I crocheted the eyes instead by making a smaller version of the ears and dabbing the middle with a criss cross of brown yarn.

This pattern also calls for a flower on the monkey’s head. I have yet to crotchet a pretty flower (mighty frustrating). I’ll keep working on it. This really did not take that long to make.

Also, I made this beanie way too small for my niece Alexa, but this doesn’t mean I can’t try again!



Let’s ring up some family fun time!

One way to build family relationships is to always have a plan for fun activities during family time. When I worked in behavioral health,  I heard a lot of complaints of “I’m bored,” or “There is nothing to do.” They were families reaching out for help on how to build better relationships, learn positive coping skills and communication skills. So, I came up with my seasonal family activities ideas on a binder ring. The photo above is an example of the ideas I made for my family using left over seasonal paper and stickers from my scrapbook stash.

Here is what you need:

  • Any kind of paper (it doesn’t have to be expensive scrapbook paper)
  • A hole punch
  • 4 binder rings
  • Your imagination
  • Art supplies you have around the house
  • Glue or glue sticks

I divided my family activities by season because there are certain things you cannot do at different times of the year.  It also helps with focusing and not to be side tracked by ideas you couldn’t possibly do (i.e. go trick or treating in April).

Have a brainstorming session with your family. Set out the paper and art supplies. Let creativity and imagination take over. The ideas do not have to be expensive! You may be surprised at what your family likes to do! Write it all down. Draw art for the idea. Use stickers to illustrate the activity. The sky really is the limit on this project. It does not have to be perfect, only perfect for your family.

You could also start new family traditions and add to your binder ring. You can throw away an idea that really didn’t work. This is the beauty of the binder ring. Plus, if you have a growing family…there will be new activities to do!

Wedding Rewind: Ikea Hack! Table Numbers

Reception Table Numbers from Ikea photo frames

Right before our wedding, Mr. Cooper and I flew to Dallas to hunt for an apartment and shop for furniture.  Having never shopped at Ikea, it was one of the places we chanced in our quest for new home furnishings. Instead of finding furniture, I happened upon the perfect wedding reception idea for our table numbers. These wonderfully inexpensive Tolsby double sided picture frames were only 99 cents a piece. We needed 13 of them, and they were light weight enough to stuff into our carry on bags for the flight home.

tolsby  Table Numbers   Creating table numbers for our wedding reception

I created my table number side using Adobe Photoshop in 6×4 sized photo frame, printed them at home, and cut them to fit the frame.  I also coordinated the fonts with the seating chart as well.

On the other side, I inserted 13 of our favorite engagement session pictures by Lucky Heart Photography. Perfection.


Here are a few other ideas on how to use the frame:

  • Use it as a wedding menu
  • Interesting facts about the bride and groom
  • Introduce your bridal party
  • Interesting facts about the guests at the table.

After the wedding, we gave some of these away as gifts to our family members.  This Ikea hack was super easy and very wedding budget friendly.

Sew Creative: Baby’s First Baseball Season

baby baseball gift set

In learning to sew, I’m practicing my new skill by making gift sets. I know it is almost the post season, but next April might be a someone’s first baseball season.

Using ribbons and remnants, I made a bib, burp cloth and baseball sensory taggie. Customize your items with your favorite MLB team fabric or ribbon.

Crafting confession and St. Louis Cardinal baseball

I love baseball. Correction: I love St. Louis Cardinal baseball.

There are many, many reasons to love the Cardinals (Molina, Freese, Carpenter, Beltran, Wainright, Adams), but I have a confession to make. I love to craft while watching America’s favorite pastime.

While some people need total quiet to crochet or sew or hot glue fabric rosettes… I love the sounds of a roaring crowd, umpires yelling OUT, announcers screaming HOMERUN while I create new projects.

Proficient multi-tasker or ADD…I’m not sure. Even if my favorite team loses a game, I have a doubled my favorite pastime.

Gabi loves to craft and photobomb. She is a St. Louis Cardinals fan, too.

Gabi loves to craft and photobomb. She is a St. Louis Cardinals fan, too!

Side Dish Search: Jalapeño Cornbread (Happy Fall y’all)

My favorite season: FALL! This is my first autumn equinox not in Indiana, and I hope Texas will not disappoint in this season of splendor. The leaves are not turning the majestic oranges and reds yet as they do in Indiana. I am just grateful of how it is pleasant to be outside again. Texas is one hot state!

So is my chili and cornbread! My Texan approved chili has a new companion. Jalapeño cornbread! Yum.

We all have our secret recipes, and mine is chili. I’m not giving away the recipe for it. I will tell you the secret to this amazingly moist and spicy cornbread.


Jalapeño Cornbread

2 boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (yes, a box mix)

1 can of cream style corn

1 fresh jalapeño pepper, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare corn muffin mix as directed. Add can of cream-style corn and pepper. Blend well.  In a greased baking dish, spread mixture evenly in the pan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer than what is directed on the muffin mix box. I baked mine for approximately 35 minutes. Test it around 30 minutes. My oven seems to over bake if I don’t watch it. It is one of the joys of renting!

Serve with your favorite fall stew, chili or soup. What is better than the first day of fall chili? Day two chili! Enjoy!

Aunt Nana’s Crochet: Finishing up Blanket for Big Sister Kit for my niece

scalloped granny squares

This morning I joined all the granny squares using a single crochet stitch. I also made a border using a single crochet stitch. As a finishing touch, I am working on a scalloped edge.


Once the blanket is complete, I am going to package this beauty into a BIG sister kit for my niece.  In learning to sew,  I am practicing by making burp cloths and bibs. I might make some doll sized diapers, burp cloths and bibs for her to play with…and she can be just like Mommy.

My niece is still a toddler. Her kit will not be crayons and coloring books. I am still thinking of creative ideas on what to put into her gift. This auntie wants her niece to feel just a special on the day her little brother is born.