My little pony special Chris edition

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My friend and labmate Chris is getting really close to graduating. By then, we’ll have worked together for the better part of 4 years. Every single day of those years has been full of fun, jokes, silliness and lots of help on his part. One could say Chris has taught me almost everything I know how to do in the lab. As you can imagine, I’m glad he’ll soon be Dr. Deutsch, but I’m also gonna miss the hell out of him.

Last month was Chris’ birthday. The very last one he celebrated in the lab. So I felt like making something he would treasure forever: a my little pony special Chris edition.

You must be wondering why on Earth would I give a pony to a grown 29 year old man. Well, the truth is that he’s been asking for it. The pink pony request is an ongoing joke between the two of us. Let me explain. I do ordering in our lab. That means I purchase any equipment or reagents we need. Usually on a weekly basis. When Friday comes around, I ask everyone if there’s anything they need me to order. Chris’ answer is without fail: a pink pony. To which I always reply: Chris, the boss wouldn’t be very happy if I spent our grant money on a pony. Then Chris will walk away with a sad puppy dog face and I’ll laugh and laugh.

cropped pony

After almost 3.5 years of pink pony requests, I figured I should grant him his wish. So here it is. The heart butt pony. The free pattern for the pony is available here. To personalize it, I made a braided mane and added a heart to its butt. Below is the happy recipient of the gift, hugging his new friend. For now, pink pony lives in our office, so that everyone who comes over can see it standing on top of Chris’ computer.

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chris pony

 

Now it’s time for me to think about a suitable graduation gift. In the meantime (suggestions welcome!), enjoy the pattern!

C.F.E. Part 2: Baby bunny hat free pattern

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If you are a regular of this blog, you know I recently started my ‘Candy Free Easter’ series. The goal being to get rid of some of the abundant Easter chocolate and sub it with either homemade or store bought non sugary goodies. 

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The first part of this series, here, featured a fuzzy furry Easter basket. Which was featured at craftgossip! here. So here is part 2, with this baby bunny hat. 

I made this hat for my friends’ baby, who you can see below, happily modeling. Isn’t he a cutie?

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The yarn is Bernat Baby blanket and it’s SO SO SO SOFT. It’s just a delight to work with and to put on anyone’s head. The size was 9-12 months, but baby Jameson has big brains, so it’s a bit tight. Below are my recommendations for larger sizes. You can also use a larger hook, as I used only 9 mm. This makes a tight crocheting, but I like that it creates some texturing in the hat. 

Without further delay… here’s the pattern

BABY BUNNY HAT

Materials: 1 skein of Bernat baby blanket in white, 10 yards (approximately) of Caron simply soft solids in pink. 

9 mm crochet hook 

Body of the hat

Make a magic circle, chain 1 and make 6 sc in the circle (6sc)

Rnd 2: 2sc in each sc around, (12 sc)

Rnd 3: (2sc in the first st, sc in the next st) around, (18 sc)

Rnd 4: (2sc in the first st, sc in the next 2 st) around (24 sc)

Rnd 5: (2 sc in the first st, sc in the next 3 st) around, (30 sc)

Rnd 6: (2 sc in the first st, sc in the next 4 st) around (36 sc)

Rnd 7-8: sc in each stitch around

For larger sizes

Toddler size, which should fit 12-18 month

Rnd 7: (2  sc in the first st, sc in the next 5 st) around (42 sc)

Rnd 8: (2 sc in the first st, sc in the next 20 sc) twice (44 sc)

Bunny ears

Using Caron simply soft pink, or a different worsted weight pink yarn

Chain 10, dc in 3rd chain from hook and in each stitch around. 

Join the baby blanket yarn

Chain 2, dc in the next 6 st. Make 3 dc in the last stitch, then continue on the other side of the ear, making 1 dc in each stitch. 

Fasten off

Make the second ear. Pinch the edges of the ear together and sew the ears to the hat. They will stand up on their own. 

By the way! you may or may not have seen it, but the knight hat pattern is up for sale on Ravelry and Etsy… 1.99$. As always, the profits buy more yarn so I can offer more free patterns!

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Embroidered canvas bag

canvas bag embroidery

Fancy an embroidered canvas bag to take to the park, beach and other lovely outdoor locations? Great! I have a mini tutorial for you.

I made this bag last spring, for a friend who is no longer in my life. I have debated over and over if I should post about this bag. On one hand, I love it. On the other hand, the end of that friendship was abrupt and bitter and I didn’t want to think about it too much.

But, alas, the new year started and winter has passed. So it’s time to shake off the ghosts and do some more embroidery. I have already been thinking about variations to this bag. With other states, cartoon characters, names, molecules… The possibilities are endless.

So, let’s get started. You’ll need a canvas bag (I got mine from Ebay, on a pack of 12), embroidery floss, an embroidery hoop, fabric markers (optional), sewing washable fabric marker (optional as well) and a design you can print and cut.

STEP 1: Choose your design. Print it in the size you’d like your design to be and hold it against the bag with some scotch tape. Mark the silhouette on your bag. You can use a pencil or a sewing marker which will wash away.

STEP 2: Place the bottom of the embroidery loop inside the bag, against the front surface. Place the top of the embroidery loop outside the bag, pressing against the fabric. Once your hoops are in place, tighten. Make sure the canvas lays flat. Otherwise once you remove the loop your design will look funny. Not in a good way.

STEP 3: Get yourself a drink of your choice and gather some patience. You will now start embroidering the bag. Keep in mind the back of your canvas is the inside of the bag, so you’ll have to embroider from the inside out. It takes some practice to get used to having your hands in the bag. But I promise it’s fairly easy once you get the swing of it. Start embroidering the silhouette continuously or dashed.

outline tracing

STEP 4: Add detail to the bag. To add the heart, cut out a paper heart and trace the outline with a fabric marker of the same color you want to make the heart. Start sewing the heart from one side to the other, vertically. As shown in the picture. Continue until the surface of the heart is completely covered.

filling the heart

And, you’re all done!
Let me know if you use this method. I’d love to see your bags! Also, let me know if you’d like a video on how to do the insert.

C.F.E. part 1: Easter egg fuzzy furry basket

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You may be wondering what this C.F.E thing is all about. Easy, it stands for CANDY FREE EASTER. A series of posts, I’m not sure how many, on Easter gifts that don’t involve candy.

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You may also be wondering, why start this and why do I care about whether or not you eat candy for Easter.

Last year, my friend Kim, who has two daughters, started the idea of candy free Easter. Instead of giving her daughters sugar coma inducing super processed products, she bought little inexpensive gifts to play with. (Check out what she did here.)  The idea behind this is that in the US, we have a type of candy for every holiday, to the point that some people can’t do holidays without sugar.

Candy is not the best thing for children (or adults for that matter). Ultra-processed sugared chocolate is not real chocolate. It’s crack in candy form. It makes children hyperactive in a bad way. It rots your teeth and it makes you fat. Well, maybe it’s not that extreme, but you get the point.

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I love the idea of Easter egg hunts. We don’t have them in Spain and they are a lot of fun, be them for children or adults! And since you’ll need a basket to put all those eggs, here it is! a fuzzy furry Easter basket. It fits about 6 large eggs and 12 smaller ones. The pattern is very very simple, the yarn is a bit hard to work with.

FUZZY FURRY EASTER BASKET

Materials:

1 skein of Bernat tizzy in dandelion yellow, less than 100 yards of white red heart super saver yarn (optional)

two yarns

9 mm crochet hook

You will use the two yarns held together in order to make it easier to see the stitches and to give strength to the basket. That said, you are gonna crochet mostly by feeling. Despite the fuzziness of the yarn the stitches are well defined and you shouldn’t have problems inserting your hook.

Rd1: 6 sc in magic ring (6sc)

Rd2: 2sc in each stitch around (12sc)

Rd3: (2sc in 1st st, 1 sc in next st) around  (18sc)

Rd4: (2sc in 1st st, 1 sc in next 2 st) around (24sc)

Rd5: (2sc in 1st st, 1sc in next 3 st) around (30sc)

Rd6: (2sc in 1st st, 1sc in next 4 st) around (36sc)

Rd7-9: 1sc in each st around

You can make the basket taller by adding rounds after rd9.

Handle:

Once you get to the last stitch of the bottom of the basket, chain 36

rd1. Make 34 sc, make a last sc through one of the stitches on the edge of the basket. This will hold the handle in place. ch1. Turn

Rd2: Hold a pipe cleaner, white or yellow, against the first row of the handle. Make 1sc in each stitch while holding the pipe cleaner. The fuzzy yarn will cover the pipe cleaner and the pipe cleaner will give rigidity to the handle. (Note: the pipe cleaner will probably be too short to cover the entire row. That’s ok. Hold it at the beginning of the row. You will do the same in the next row so you’ll have a pipe cleaner on each side of the handle and they will overlap in the middle. ) Remember to make the last sc through a stitch at the base of the basket just as before. ch1. Turn.

pipe cleaner

Rd3: Repeat round 2

Rd4: 1 sc around. Make the last sc through a stitch in the base of the basket

easter basket hand

Homemade sour gummies

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Have I mentioned I love sour gummies? Well, I do. What I don’t love is all the junk that comes along with the sour tastiness. The solution: make your own gummies.

How do you make them sour, you ask? Use citric acid! And where can you buy it? I’m sure you could buy a pound of it online. I bought mine at New Seasons. You can probably find it at Whole Foods or any other store that has a reasonable bulk spices section. Did I mention it’s cheap? Very cheap. And you only need a little bit.

You can add the citric acid straight to the gummy mixture. I prefer to use it as a coat, along with some superfine sugar.

Now for the ‘recipe’. Please keep in mind I used homemade jam for this. The raspberry jam used is very runny. The strawberry jam has the consistency of what the store would call preserves. Hopefully the following pictures help.

Raspberry jam

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Strawberry jam/preserves

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Extra sour raspberry-lime gummies
Ingredients:
1 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup water
1 package of lime jello or 1 package of gelatin + 2 tbsp lime juice (fresh)
Coating
Superfine sugar + citric acid in a 1:1 mixture

In a non-reactive pot, add the jam and the water and bring to a boil. Add the gelatin and stir well until there are no clumps. If necessary add more water. but be careful because excess water will make your gummies sticky and they will not set as well

Pour the mixture into a glass/silicone mold and let it cool to room temperature before transferring it to the fridge. Let it cool overnight.

Unmold the gummies and dip them in coating. If poured in one big mold, cut in portions before coating. Keep refrigerated.

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Sour strawberry gummies
Ingredients:
1 cup strawberry jam
1 cup of water
1 package gelatin
Citric acid + sugar for coating

Follow the same instructions as for the prior batch.

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Remember, the more you coat them, the more sour the gummies. I recommend you keep these in the fridge as they ‘sweat’ when left at room temperature.

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Metal man amigurumi free pattern (and giveaway winners)

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Hello again!

First and foremost, let me announce the giveaway winners.

Lavanya, Wendi, Melisa, Melissa and Liz. Since you are the only guys who actually commented besides subscribing, the pattern is all yours. I will try to get your e-mail from the comment. But if you comment and leave your e-mail that would be awesome.

Now… METAL MAN!

The boy has a good friend, from back in Austin, who I’ve had the pleasure to meet. Sort of. We have met through the waves. It seems silly, perhaps. And yet people like Kevin can become so relevant in everyday life.

It may all be that he always has a reassuring word when the world seems to be crumbling apart. Or that we both love cowboy boots, metal and tacos. Or that we are chemists. It may be for a thousand reasons. But when I realized his birthday was coming up I felt like something special had to be done. So I made metal man, who is the dark haired version of Kevin. He sure seems to be very happy about his new companion, as I have received a few pictures of Metal Man going about at Kevin’s office. (Seriously hilarious).

The pattern is in this PDF and it’s free for you to use. Please make sure you add a link to the pattern if you sell any dolls made from this pattern.

DOWNLOAD PATTERN PDF HERE: metalman2

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He surely looks happy

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The spikes on the cuffs were made with glow in the dark 3D paint. And yes, they do glow in the dark :)

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Miss Piggy crochet hat and a long rant about weight.

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Let me start this post by saying this: I love food.

I love cooking, baking, sharing food. I love holidays that revolve around sitting on a table with family and friends and enjoying a good meal. I love the face of people when you give them a bag of homemade cookies. I love introducing people to Spanish food. I love cultures that appreciate food.

What I don’t love is this culture of ‘you have to count calories and skip meals’. We have all gone insane. Seriously.

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When I moved to this country, almost 6 years ago, I was about 120 lbs. For a 5 feet tall woman, I was slightly overweight.  Overweight according to the numbers, not according to the men I kept meeting, who would call me insane for saying I was fat. I would explain that in Spain I was ‘a whale’. I would tell them I had always been an ugly duckling because I was not a bag of bones. I would hide my butt with long shirts, so it wouldn’t be apparent that I have a big ass. In Spain, a size 6 is fat. A size 8 means you will not find clothes at most stores.

All of these men would look at me like I was talking nonsense. They would praise a big ass and a woman with curves. It blew my mind. The saddest part is that I have to be writing this so I can convince other people that this is true. The tragedy is that I have friends telling me this is because women are fatter in the US and by comparison I am not fat. Are you F*cking kidding me? How can any woman support this deluded notion of beauty?

Let me make a point clear. I don’t support obesity. I think people in their 20s and 30s should take care of themselves.  Being healthy at an early age helps you get to an old age in better condition. Healthy means less joint pain, better blood pressure, less cardiovascular problems. More muscle mass helps you move faster and feel stronger. I support all of this. I have slowly but surely worked towards reaching those goals.

I am now about 100 lbs. It’s taken me 3 years of regular workouts to get to where I’m at. My back hurts a lot less and I feel less tired. Gaining muscle through physical therapy helped me feel better. But I didn’t, at any time, stop eating.

All throughout this period I have eaten anything I wanted. Sure, I don’t inhale food like there’s no tomorrow. I am aware of the portions that are reasonable for me to eat. But I also will eat a cookie or a bowl of ice cream whenever I feel like it. I am openly opposed to diets. I’ve tried them all and never lost any weight. I started exercising and gained muscle and I now eat more calories than ever before, while maintaining my weight. Because exercise increases your metabolism and that allows you to enjoy your meals ‘without worry’.

PIGGY EYE ZOOM

It is tremendously unhealthy for young women to deprive themselves of food. Your brain runs on glucose. When you starve yourself you starve your brain. And that ladies and gentlemen, makes you dumb. I have seen it with my own eyes. I’ve seen it happen to my best friend in high school. And I have seen it over and over again in Spain.

I am sick of this. I am sick of seeing women in their early 20s starve themselves whilst trying to get through college, or even worse, grad school. I have seen women deprive themselves of all those little things they enjoy, because they are too worried about gaining weight. I have been, for a long time, sick of hearing my family members tell me I will never find a husband because I’m not skinny and I’m a nerd. I am however, very glad that I have accomplished many things in life, which have nothing to do with my weight. I am proud to call myself a chemist. I am proud to be in a PhD program in the US. I am proud to be more than my weight.

I am tired of viewing food as the enemy.

End of rant.

PIGGY ZOOM

Now, because she is a symbol of curves and she is still the cutest pig around, I am giving away 5 copies of the pattern for this Miss piggy hat. All you have to do is subscribe to this blog and leave me a comment telling me you did so. 

PLEASE REMEMBER TO LEAVE A COMMENT! I can’t keep track of who’s subscribing otherwise! thank you

You can find the pattern for sale at my etsy store, HERE

The winners will be picked at random and announced Friday March 7th.

Good luck!