Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Style on a Budget: Cheetah Print Dress & Flats

**Not a sponsored post.
I had a job interview last week with a local gently used clothing store that specializes in trending women's wear. I turned to my closet after I got the call and set up the interview, and after some thought, decided I needed a new, cute and trendy outfit. With only $20 to spare, I freaked out just a little.
I took a trip down to my local DD's Discounts, and was in heaven - so many great deals and items - even stuff for the home! I had a specific type of outfit in mind though - I was looking for a solid bottom of some sort, either skirt or slacks, and a cheetah print top. I searched, and searched and tried on, but no luck - I couldn't find cheetah print anywhere but leggings. Just as I was about to give up, I came across this short, cheetah print dress by Speed Control New York. It's lightweight made from 100% polyester, and even has pockets! It features an elastic waistline, and darted blouse. It's a little short - ending just above my knee, but still provides good coverage. Dress damage - $6. No luck on shoes at DD's...
Right next door to this DD's, was a Shoeland - a favorite of mine :)
There, I found these dark brown flats by Herstyle. These flats are sueded, and have a pointed front as seen in the photo. Comfortable, cute and affordable. Shoe damage - $10.

So... For less than $20, I got a new, trendy outfit to wear to my job interview (or out on the weekends). Where do you like to shop on a budget?

If you love to bake, craft and DIY too, I would love to see your photos and get your recommendations! Join the EyeLoveKnots Crafting Community to share your creations, and see what other's are up to!

Don't miss out on new crochet patterns, reviews, jewelry tutorials and more! Subscribe to EyeLoveKnots by using the box on the right side toolbar, or follow me via Bloglovin!

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Chocolate Chip Cookies & Cream Cookies - Recipe Review - Inside BruCrew Life

I have the weekends off, and I have been trying to do more cooking and baking - I cook dinner at least one of the nights, and bake something for the weekend. This past weekend, I received a request from my boyfriend Todd for some cookies with white chocolate chips in them. I turned to Pinterest, and came across these Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream Cookies from Jocelyn of Inside BruCrew Life. If you haven't checked out her blog - you need to! She has so many delicious looking and easy recipes, you will have trouble deciding where to start! I have been following her for a couple years now, and should have turned there first. I will be making some fudge here soon, and definitely coming back to some of her recipes, because these cookies were easy and quick to make, and a big hit with Todd and the family, AND I had some Oreo's left to munch on while I waited for the cookies to bake and cool :)

12.03.16 UPDATE: We still had a few straggelers, and even a week later when I had the last couple, they were still soft and delicious!

Yields:
     24 Cookies

Time Spent:
     Prep: The first half up to sticking the dough into the fridge took me about 20 minutes, then I waited on it for half an hour, worked up my balls in about 20 minutes and then popped in the oven.
     Bake: 22 minutes
     Cooling: 2 hours, 6 minutes
     Total: Nearly 3 hours, 45 minutes

Ingredients:
     - 1 Vanilla Cake Mix - I used Betty Crocker's French Vanilla Cake Mix
     - 8 tablespoons of butter, melted - I used a whole stick of Country Crock
     - 1 egg - mine was medium sized
     - 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
     - 4 oz of cream cheese, softened - I used half an 8 oz box of Great Value
     - 2 cups of Oreo cookie chunks
     - 1/2 cup chocolate chips - I used Nestle's
     - 1/2 cup white chocolate chips - I used Nestle's

**All ingredients were easily found at my local Walmart - not a sponsored post.

You'll Also Need:
     - Spatula
     - Mixing Bowl 
     - Baking Sheet
     - Measuring Cup
     - Cooling Rack - I found a 3-Tier Cooling Rack at my local Sav-a-Lot for $7
     - Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream Cookie Recipe by Inside BruCrew Life

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Recipe Notes: 
     I combined my cream cheese and stick of butter in the mixing bowl first, and popped it in the microwave for a couple rounds of 15 seconds. This helped to soften them up for the combining.

When it came to the Oreo's, I found that 8 cookies makes 1 cup. I did 8 at a time in my measuring cup, and used a spoon to break them into chunks and semi crush. 

I rolled my balls to be about 2", and baked for the given time. I found that my first batch definitely didn't take the shape they were supposed to, so I baked my second batch for 11 minutes (even though the recipe says not to over bake), and they came out perfectly to taste and shape.

In between batches, I put my dough back into the fridge. It definitely gave the dough a nice, solid feel so rolling was quick and easy, and not a big mess.

Now to make your own, go check out Jocelyn's Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream Cookie Recipe!
If you love to bake (and/or craft) too, I would love to see your photos and get your recommendations! Join the EyeLoveKnots Crafting Community to share your creations, and see what other's are up to!

Don't miss out on new crochet patterns, reviews, jewelry tutorials and more! Subscribe to EyeLoveKnots by using the box on the right side toolbar, or follow me via Bloglovin!

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Join-As-You-Go Granny Squares the EyeLoveKnots Way - Photo Tutorial

I am currently working on a project that uses this technique - a great technique I have used in the past that pretty much forces you to weave in your ends as you go, and avoids having a bunch of granny squares sitting around and having to sew them together later.

For this tutorial, I am using Big Twist Yarns Premium (JoAnn's) in the Premium Ocean colorway and a J10/6mm crochet hook, but any yarn and hook will work!

Before we start, in what projects can you use this technique? There is no limit! I have used this technique to join squares to make blankets, a headband, a sweater, and now... Well, you'll have to wait and see ;)
Do you have a project in mind you'd like to see done with this technique? Drop me a line in the comments section.

*Please respect my work - do not pin, save or share the tutorial collages - only the title photo. Thanks! Provide link for others to find, please do not copy and paste my work anywhere.

Square with 1 Side to Join - Click to Enlarge:
**If you have a larger square than mine, you will continue working Steps 2 and 3 until you have reached the corner chain space.
Square with 2 or More Sides to Join - Click to Enlarge:
The only time you'll really have more than two sides to join is if you forget to put in a square, and have to go back and add it. That is the only time I had to work a three sided join - the two as usual, and the third to the square to the left of the one working. 

I usually work across one row, and then go back and weave in my ends so I don't have a bunch of ends at the end of my project - completely up to you!

When I know that I will be working an edging over the piece, and adding more squares to center ones, I will work a regular single crochet join. 
If I don't plan on adding more squares, or an edging, then I work a nice, clean invisible join.
I know I used to be intimidated by this technique before, but I have been using it for a while, and love it's ease, look and working as I go. I hope this tutorial has helped you too!

*If you would like a PDF version of this post, you may get one through my EyeLoveKnots Etsy Shop or EyeLoveKnots Craftsy Shop for a small fee. This fee is to compensate for the view/s lost once you no longer need to return to the blog for the information, as you will have your own copy. Plus! It helps fund supplies for new projects to share with you!
Shop EyeLoveKnots Etsy - Join-As-You-Go Granny Squares
or EyeLoveKnots Craftsy - Join-As-You-Go Granny Squares.

With so many size, yarn type and color options, I would love to see them! Please share your photos on my EyeLoveKnots Facebook page, or join the EyeLoveKnots Crafting Community to share your creations, and see what other's are up to!

Don't miss out on new crochet patterns, reviews, jewelry tutorials and more! Subscribe to EyeLoveKnots by using the box on the right side toolbar, or follow me via Bloglovin!

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How to Crochet a Granny Square with Photo Tutorial 

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends! - Living the Dream

Yesterday: Here in the States, we are celebrating Thanksgiving Day today. I want to wish ALL of you a very Happy Thanksgiving! And even for those not celebrating, an awesome day!

Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks for all the things you have, including the delicious feast slaved and stressed over for sometimes days, and being with friends and family. I am thankful for many things - including you! I have come a long way with my crocheting and blogging because you guys support and encourage me. Thanks sooooo much!

My boyfriend's parents were not going to be able to celebrate with us today, so we celebrated this past Sunday. We went all out, and had a wonderful time together. 

I've included some photos for you. Please respect us in not pinning, saving or sharing our images :) You may do so with the title photo if you choose, or the final image of Lake Jessamine.
Today: I was going to schedule this to post yesterday when I originally finished editing my photos, but I knew I'd be going to my Grandpa's on Thanksgiving, and wanted to share some photos of that with you too :)
I suppose it wasn't as many more photos as I thought I had, but still. Just look at that lake view!

Hope everyone had a fantastic day! Be careful out shopping today with all those folks out for Black Friday deals.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

15 Minute Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Fudge - An EyeLoveKnots Recipe

Every year for Thanksgiving, I do the baking. For some time it was something pumpkin, but it's switched to fudge over the last few years. This year I decided to go with three different flavors of fudge, the first one being this Peanut Butter Fudge.

I wanted something really quick, since I was doing three batches, so I decided the microwave was a good option, plus I don't like the inconsistencies of a stove. Using the microwave, times are pretty exact. 

A lot of fudge recipes call for sweetened condensed milk. I chose not to use it in this recipe, and instead replaced it with frosting. With this switch, refrigeration is not needed for storing the finished fudge, which makes it great for gift giving since you don't need to worry about it melting (a previous worry of mine).

Yields: 25 squares

Prep Time: None

[No] Bake Time: 15 minutes

Set Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:
     - 2 tbsp of butter
     - 1 12 oz bag (or 1.5 cups) of Peanut Butter Chips
     - 1 16 oz can of Vanilla Frosting
     - 1 12 oz bag (or 1.5 cups) of Milk Chocolate Chips

*All ingredients found at my local Winn Dixie - not a sponsored post.

You Will Also Need:
     - a medium sized microwave safe bowl
     - a spatula
     - an 8" x 8" pan
     - aluminum foil to cover pan
     - Pam

Ingredient Notes:
     Peanut Butter Chips: I did try a batch with regular peanut butter in place of the chips. It did turn out similarly, but there was a big change in the taste. It went from tasting like the inside of a Reese's Peanut Butter Egg, to straight up Peanut Butter. The thickness and consistency is also different, and it isn't as smooth. Definitely recommend the morsels.

Foil: Why cover the pan? It makes it sooooo easy afterwards to just lift and pull the fudge out of the pan. You can cut over the foil, and even wrap it up to temporarily store in the fridge. Plus, minimal clean up.

Pam: This is optional, but will help so much once the fudge has hardened. Without it, you will find the fudge sticks to the sides of the foil.

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Recipe:
     First things first, line the 8" pan with aluminum foil, spray with Pam and set aside.

2. In microwave safe mixing bowl, add in the butter, and peanut butter chips. Microwave for 45 seconds. Stir until creamy. 

3. Remove the foil top to the frosting container, and microwave for 45 seconds to soften it up. Remove from microwave.

4. Return peanut butter chips to microwave for 30 seconds. While they are in there, stir the frosting in it's container. 

5. Pour the frosting into the peanut butter chip bowl, and stir. 

6. Add in 1 cup of the regular chocolate chips, and gently stir final mix together. Don't over stir or the regular chocolate chips will begin to melt.

7. Pour the mixture into the 8" pan, and sprinkle the remaining milk chocolate chips on top. Set aside to set (at least an hour).

8. Cut, and enjoy! I cut mine 5 squares by 5 squares.
Please DO NOT claim this recipe as your own nor should you sell my recipe. DO NOT re-publish my photos as your own. DO NOT copy and paste my recipe anywhere, link to it instead.

If you love to bake (and/or craft) too, I would love to see your photos and get your recommendations! Join the EyeLoveKnots Crafting Community to share your creations, and see what other's are up to!

**AND, keep an eye out for my other fudge recipes coming soon. You can views others here - Tasty Tuesday.

Don't miss out on new crochet patterns, reviews, jewelry tutorials and more! Subscribe to EyeLoveKnots by using the box on the right side toolbar, or follow me via Bloglovin!

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Strawberry Cream Bars - Recipe Review by EyeLoveKnots

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Chevron Shoulder Bag - Rebeckah's Treasures - Crochet Pattern Review

I pattern tested this Chevron Shoulder Bag for my friend Rebeckah of Rebeckah's Treasures. This testing began back in November of 2014, and definitely shouldn't have taken this long to complete and post, but a couple things caused this to remain in the WIPs bin: 1.) The time it took to complete because of the yarn used; 2.) Blocking; 3.) Adding a zipper. The last two things here intimidated me, and after all this time, I worked around it. Keep in mind that you can adjust anything in a pattern with just a little brainstorming. Don't let it deter you from completing anything - especially a bag as beautiful as this one!

Materials I Used:
     - Two Skeins of Cotton(ish) Yarn in Jade Jersey (a medium green) and Cotton Field (a lime green)
     - F5/3.75mm Hook
     - #18 Tapestry Needle for Weaving in Ends & Sewing
     - For Lining: Half a skein of Embroidery Floss - I used a green, but it doesn't matter because it isn't visible
     - For Lining: 2 sheets of Stiff 7 Mesh Plastic Canvas
     - For Lining: Two sheets of Eco-Felt - I used the Sandstone color
     - Chevron Shoulder Bag, Free Crochet Pattern by Rebeckah's Treasures

Material Notes:
     The original shoulder bag made by Rebeckah was made with #10 crochet thread. For the testing, I was asked to work the same pattern using lightweight yarn to see what the measurements would be. With this being said - you can use any weight yarn from #10 crochet thread to #6 super bulky.
If you are wishing to work up a bag similar to my measurements, you can use any Lightweight (#3) yarn. Some alternatives include, Baby Bee's Sweet Delight Yarn, Anne Geddes Baby Yarn.

Time Spent:

     Based on my previous and current notes, I am estimating that this bag took me just over 8 hours to complete - done in a few seatings.

Measurements:
     My finished bag came out to be 21" Wide by 14.25" Tall, with the strap measuring 1" Wide by 17" Tall.

My Gauge:

     10 sc x 10 rows = 2" x 2"

Pattern Notes:    
     When I began testing this bag, this was my first ripple stitch project, and I loved the pattern! It was a lot easier than I thought it'd be, and the ripple effect really does look neat. I have since worked several ripple projects, which can be found at the end of this post, but not in the chevron pattern as this is done in.

     The chevron pattern made my fabric become very wavy - which honestly, drove me crazy! I added the plastic canvas to my bag to make the bag stiffer and straighter, without having to block the bag. If I worked this bag again, I would omit the plastic canvas to allow more stretch within the bag and add comfort, but keep the lining to prevent too much stretch. The bag would have to be blocked though to take out the wave.

     To add the plastic canvas and lining, I cut two pieces of plastic canvas out 65 holes wide by 90 holes tall, and one long piece of felt to 10" wide by 28" tall. I folded the felt in half hamburger style, and then blanket stitched the sides closed with the embroidery floss. I placed the two sheets of plastic canvas into the bag, and then added the felt lining in between them and stitched similarly to a running stitch through the felt into the top holes of the plastic canvas and finally around the stitches of the last row crocheted. I have used this technique in my Little Girls Purse Crochet Review and have photos there showing this process.
     I doubled the width of my strap (9 SC's across) so I could fold in half and double the thickness when attached to the bag. It also lessens the stretch of the bag. Even so, expect about 10" of stretch when items are in bag. To lessen stretch more, you can line the strap. I did buy enough felt to do so, but did not think I could cut it well enough to add so I didn't line. I worked my strap to 169 rows for a length of 34".
After I sewed it onto the bag, I folded the strap in half and whipstitched the sides closed.

     I added two rows of single crochet in the back loop to the top of the bag to help hide the top of the felt lining. I like the added texture and dimension it gave.

     I opted not to add a pocket as well as zipper. I did purchase the zipper to add, but it was very intimidating to me and was one of the reasons it took me so long to finish the bag. I do think a clasp of some sort would be a nice finishing touch to the bag - if I were to work another, I would add either a flap, or a button closure of some sort.
With so many size, yarn type and color options, I would love to see them! Please share your photos on my EyeLoveKnots Facebook page.

Don't miss out on new crochet patterns, reviews, jewelry tutorials and more! Subscribe to EyeLoveKnots by using the box on the right side toolbar, or follow me via Bloglovin!


Don't Crochet but Interested in Purchasing a Chevron Shoulder Bag?
     I am not planning on adding these particular bags to my EyeLoveKnots Etsy Shop, but I do have some similar totes made using a ripple pattern. Visit the EyeLoveKnots Etsy Shop to see what I have available! Use the search box to type in what you have in mind, or feel free to send me a message with your custom request. 

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Free Crochet Pattern on EyeLoveKnots
Free Crochet Pattern by EyeLoveKnots for The Stitchin Mommy 
Free Crochet Pattern by EyeLoveKnots for The Stitchin Mommy

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