Crochet Owl & Bee Baby Rattles, Plus Cards and Gift Bags

I posted a while ago about knit & crochet patterns for baby gifts. I was doing a lot of hat & bootie sets at the time and have since experimented with stuffed animals and found some really cute baby rattle patterns I wanted to share.

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The owl is based on the {Stripey Owl Baby Rattle} which I found on a site called Lovely Little Life via Pinterest. Unfortunately, it seems the link no longer follows through, but I’ve been working with my own modified version of the pattern. I used variegated yarn instead of switching colors, but if you have scraps, the stripes could be a great way to use them up. I just gave one to my friend’s new baby and they love it.

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The bee is also modified, from one of a set of free {Ladybug Baby Toy Patterns}. Stripes seemed easier than polka dots and it turned out to be a cute theme for another friend’s gender-neutral shower. I used cotton yarn, poly-fil stuffing, and one of those little quarter machine containers filled with beads for a rattle insert (they can be pretty hard to open and the stitches are pretty tight, so I don’t see it as a choking hazard, but feel free to share your thoughts on child safety).

Also pictured, some polymer clay cake toppers. I sell a few different styles of these in my Etsy shop, {Pastiche Accessories}.

I made some simple “welcome baby” and “what will it bee?” cards with white cardstock, scrapbook paper bunting, and sharpie for lines & letters. For wrapping, I covered one not-so-baby-appropriate bag with some baby wrapping paper, and I embellished another plain-colored one with just a wide strip of the paper.

Well I hope you like these ideas! Please comment if you’re interested in my versions of the crochet patterns, or instructions for the cards & bags. I haven’t written anything up yet but I would be happy to do so!

DIY Hand (& Body) Care

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One thing I struggle with constantly as an artist is taking care of my hands. It seems like they are always dirty, painty, and beat up, which doesn’t help with my dry skin problem. Not to mention the near-impossibility of keeping up pretty nails (mostly I settle for pretty toes instead).

I don’t always use all-natural skin products because I’m cheap and I can’t necessarily tell the difference on my skin. We do eat mostly natural foods so I guess it’s just “choosing your battles.” But for some reason my hands do look & feel better when I use nicer/more natural soaps & lotions.

So I’m sure there are a lot of great products out there that you can buy for natural hand & body care – in fact I’m getting some goat’s milk lotion from another Etsy seller in exchange for one of my jewelry items (check out etsytrades.com for more info on trading) – but if you’re on more of a DIY budget, there are options for that too. Here are a few of my favorites and some other options I haven’t tried yet.

Scrubs:

Lemon Sugar Scrub

Rose Sugar Scrub

Lavender Salt Scrub

Candy Cane Salt Scrub

Coffee Scrub

Lotions:

Basic Hand Lotion

Beeswax Lotion

Simple Lotion Bars

You can add or subtract the extras to make your own variations. If you’re a polymer clay-er like me, the scrubs work great to clean it off. I also made some of these as gifts last Christmas. So go ahead, be crafty, use those hands – but don’t forget to pamper them when you’re done!

Latest Greatest (Paleo-ish) Dinners

It’s been a while since I blogged about food, and we have made some pretty fabulous new meals lately, mixed in with our old favorites of course, so I thought I’d share some here! They’re not all strictly paleo but pretty healthy, I think, and definitely tasty 🙂

{Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops} I’m not usually good at cooking pork, but this easy recipe turned out great! I paired it with squash pasta like this {Zucchini Noodle Recipe} to make a complete grain-free meal.

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{Beef, Mushroom, & Kale Stir Fry} This one is also pretty quick & easy, and you can substitute spinach if you can’t find kale, or add mushrooms, peppers, etc.

{Cauliflower Fried Rice} I omitted the peas and added chicken. It really does taste like rice and not cauliflower!

Fish Tacos This one is not so much a recipe as an idea. I can write out specifics if anyone is interested, but basically my husband fries the tortillas in olive oil, I fry the fish in oil, lemon juice, and seasonings – sometimes adding parmesan cheese to one or the other – and we finish them with cole slaw and pineapple/mango salsa. Tacos have never been my favorite thing, but I could eat these over and over.

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Chicken With Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Again not really a recipe but a simple grilled meal that we paired with leftover cole slaw. Let me know if you’d like details on this one too. Also, cole slaw is really good with blueberries in it (not pictured)!

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Bonus (not dinner but delicious): {Savory Breakfast Casserole} No crust makes this easier and less carb-loaded than other quiche type recipes, and there are still plenty of possibilities! We made ours with spinach, bacon, and red potatoes. Want something a little sweeter to go with it? Check out my other post on {Paleo/Gluten Free Banana Muffins}.

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Thanks for reading! Let me know how you like the recipes and what you are cooking these days!