Friday, November 25, 2016

Crochet an Infant Football Helmet Hat

Like most alumnae, I'm proud of where I got my undergraduate degree! I bleed blue; go BYU cougars! Elin and her hubby, too, have such a pride, especially in our football team. This is loyal of them, since our football team is usually pretty ho-hum. Still, they religiously watch the games, all decked out in BYU apparel.

Elin and I are living parallel pregnancies, and I thought it would be perfect to crochet her little bun in the oven a BYU football helmet hat. There were, of course, a few barriers to this:
  1.  I really don't know how to crochet. I'd only made one thing: SourPatch's Halloween Dobby hat.
  2. There's no tutorial specific to such a helmet. 
  3. I really don't know how to crochet.
Still, despite these difficulties, I forged ahead, and here's the result:

I decided to work off of this free pattern from Breezybot. So cute, and I love it when talented people generously post their patterns for free. I do wish I'd read some of the comments posted below before I began, however. Several people had trouble getting the stitch count to add up. So did I. I pulled out and re-crocheted one of the rows multiple times before giving up and continuing on with an altered stitch count from the pattern. Still, it worked out! Also, I used a larger hook than recommended, hoping the hat would come out on the larger side. No such luck; this is definitely a newborn size. This is probably fine for a baby born in Texas; he won't have very many occasions to wear warm hats after he outgrows it.

I then found a tutorial to make an oval and another to make the letter "Y." I had to cut back on the stitch count of the "Y" to make it small enough for the hat. I carefully sewed my appliques (and the button in the tutorial) onto the hat with a yarn needle. I was pleased with how it turned out, and now am just excited to see it on my nephew!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Pinecone Candle Ring

Elin and I both fell in love with the pinecone wreath that Laurel posted about last month. So while we were all together for a few days in October, we set to work making one for Elin:

After they left, I stared at the bag of extra pinecones and thought, "Hmmm, these shouldn't go to waste. I need to make Elin a candle ring to match her wreath!" (Sorry, Elin. Present spoiler alert.) So I chugged back to Walmart where we had purchased the filler flowers, berries, and picks to buy some more.

I had hoped they would have a smaller wreath frame that I could use for a candle ring, but they didn't, so I browsed in their craft section until I found an unfinished, 6 1/2" round wooden plaque. I used it for my base, and it worked great. (I often don't think about taking pictures until I am in the middle of a project, but you can see the plaque here:)

Leaving a 3" hole in the middle for a pillar candle, I glued on rings of pinecones, tipping each ring outward a little until the final ring was almost parallel with the table. I then filled in gaps with red and orange flowers, berries, green leaves, and gold filigree flowers and picks. Elin specifically wanted oranges as well as reds in her wreath so that it can be used in the fall as well as in the winter, so I continued that theme:

As Laurel suggested for the wreaths, I sprayed the finished ring lightly with gold spray paint to add a little extra sparkle and then inserted the candle:

Merry Christmas, Elin!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Preschool Lesson: Letter "E"

First, we started off circling up and talking about the letter "E". I made a basic PowerPoint to put up on our TV to display the upper and lowercase letters. Then, we talked about long "e" (followed by pictures of eagles and eels) and short "e" (followed by pictures of elephants and eggs). We then made uppercase "E" with popsicle sticks.

We jumped right into our fine motor activity of dot painting. I had a suspicion they'd be excited about it, and I was right! After seeing how much Elin's little girl enjoyed the Do a Dot markers when she was SourPatch's age, I decided to buy a pack as a quiet General Conference activity. It was a hit! I used the elephant printable from This Reading Mama's free letter E pack and this engine printable.

For our large motor activity, we decided to "exercise" by playing a jumping game. Okay, only a 2 or 3 year old would call this a game, but that's the crowd we're catering to, right? I had them take turns pulling a numbered elephant card out of my envelope. We then jumped all together that many times, counting aloud. (It took them maybe one round to add falling to the floor at the end while laughing to the routine. Kids are funny.) After we jumped to all ten cards, we arranged them in order, 1 to 10 (I got these cards from the free letter E pack mentioned above!)

Next, we went on an egg hunt around the house. Conveniently, these eggs are also shakers to segue into music time. I feel like I do need more shaker songs in my repertoire. I mean, I know you can shake to the beat of any song, but some work better than others. Today, we just did two egg shaker songs and two "E" songs:

  • Shake Your Shaker Slowly
  • Tue Tue This song is a throwback to the amazing music class we attended in California. The organizer, Brittney, was good about incorporating non-English songs into her class. Plus, I spent a month in Ghana, so it brings back good memories. Furthermore, it has an echo component to it, which is great for Letter E day!
  • The Elevator Song
  •  Sing After Me How perfect is this song? Ernie and Elmo singing about echos? We watched it twice so we could sing along the second time, echoing along with Elmo.
After a non-e-themed snack (sorry, kiddos!) and playing outside, we read:
  • The Little Engine that Could
  • First the Egg 
  • Green Eggs and Ham

The kids were done with books by the time we got to Horton. Sorry, lil elephant! Next time.

We then reviewed the "E" words we learned by decorating an evergreen tree with objects and pictures, such as elephant, eggs, engine, envelope, ear, eagle, Elmo, and earth.

Back to the craft table, the kids put together some 2-piece puzzles (again courtesy of the Letter E pack linked above) while I got our envelope craft ready.

Okay, time for my disclaimer... this craft is not actually very cute. Still, it turned out to be a good choice for practice gluing, and the kids enjoyed filling up their envelopes with "E"s on little paper squares.

All in all? It felt like another preschool success.