Thursday, June 30, 2016

American Girl Dolls Need to Eat Too!

Dova pours tea

A few years ago, when Dova was still in her American Girl Doll phase (or craze), I purchased these holidays gifts for her to encourage "creative play".

4M Paint Your Own Mini Tea Set

American Girl Crafts Doll Size Plates Cups And Placemats

Of course, I was completely remiss because how can you use a tea set and party plates without proper play food? You can't just "imagine" food like we did as kids. We had already given away our beloved set of wooden sandwiches from when the kids were little.

Melissa & Doug Wooden Sandwich-Making Set

Even if we still had it, Dova said it would be too big anyway. What did I know? You must only use correctly scaled (1:3 for AG dolls, which would make the girls 4'6" in real life), age-appropriate play food. Creative play is not about creatively using the resources you already have, it's about buying more and more stuff! Geesh!

At first, Dova was obsessed with this set of doll food from Target that one of her friends had:

At the time, you couldn't order it online, and I searched in the store to no avail. She was very unhappy!

Have I mentioned that Dova is extremely demanding and difficult? This was back when she only had an iPod Touch which I thought would provide a "convenient" way to communicate. It mostly provides a convenient way for her to YELL AT ME IN ALL CAPS.

Since we couldn't purchase the cheap plastic food, I went to Etsy and eventually to Katie's Craftations for beautifully hand crafted food! We spent a bit more money, but ended up with delicious-looking, long-lasting one of a kind items.

How can you resist this hot dog which fits perfectly in Ivy's hand?

Ivy and hot dog
Hot dog

Or these incredible drinks? I bet you want a pink lemonade or a slushie now!

Pink lemonade and slushie

Here's a proper brunch for dolls.

Brunch for dolls

Don't try to eat the donut yourself!

Chocolate sprinkle donut
Dova donut

Dova did paint the tea set. Here it is with some healthier fruit snacks.

Tea set

Of course all this "proper" play is no fun. This photo sessions soon devolved into an eye cup for Ivy, or "I CUP", which when spelling out the letters is, "I see you pee".

Ivy eye cup

This soon turned into real ROFL, rolling on the floor laughing!

Dova and dolls on the floor

The days of doll tea parties have gone by the wayside, but the food still shows up in unexpected places. Here's a recent Video Star video, "I Heart Hand Signs" where the banana makes an entrance.

If you want fantastic doll food, head over to Katie's Craftations! This post was not sponsored in any way, but feel free to purchase the other items through the Amazon affiliate links :).

How to Get OneNote to Look Like Evernote

Like many others, the news that Evernote is limiting the free Basic accounts to two devices completely infuriated me. Since I have Evernote installed on two computers as well as my iPhone and iPad, this change will render the application completely useless in 30 days. The web Evernote interface does not provide the flexibility of showing lists of tags along with their notes. I don't have a need for huge amounts of storage, and the lowest price tag of $34.99/year is way too much for what I use it for. But my 347 carefully organized notes needed a new home. After searching a bit, I found that Microsoft OneNote conveniently has an import tool for Evernote. However, making the OneNote user interface act and feel like Evernote took some tweaking. Please note that only the Office version of OneNote can be modified to look like Evernote. The OneNote application from the Windows 10 Store, like many Windows 10 apps and features, is too dumbed-down to customize. These screen shots are for Microsoft OneNote 2013, but many features are available for earlier and later versions.

This is how I currently view Evernote:

Notebook and Tags on the left, the list of Notes for that Tag in the next column, and then the selected Note on the right. Makes perfect sense for the obsessively organized.

First, download and run the Evernote to OneNote import tool. When I first opened OneNote after importing, I was appalled by the user interface. All my previous Tags became way too many Section tabs across the top of the page (looks even worse full screen).

To show the Sections (was Tags) on the left side, first Pin the Notebooks by clicking the down arrow next the notebook name, and clicking the push pin.

This shows you the notebook list but not the Sections. Click on the down arrow for the notebook to expand the Sections.

Starting to look better! To move the list of Pages to the left, click the File menu and then Options.

In the Display section, click "Page tabs appear on the left", and click OK.

Now this is more usable! There's no way to remove the annoying tabs on top, but having them vertically on the left side is where I focus.

There have been a few things about OneNote that I like better than Evernote. Since Sections are more like folders instead of tags, you can nest sections under each other (notice the Work section). Also on my iOS devices there is Offline access, which I would have had to pay for in Evernote. I'm rarely disconnected from the internet, but it makes it faster and doesn't require using cellular data when I need it. Goodbye Evernote!

P.S. Don't get any ideas about having the VIN number for the BMW 325xiT, that car is long gone!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Knitted American Flag Wreath

American Flag Wreath

I was inspired by a couple versions of this American Flag wreath, but didn't quite like every aspect of each one, so I made my own pattern combining the best of all worlds.

Kara's crochet wreath at Petals to Picot is beautiful! But I prefer knitting to crochet myself. Also, to be authentic, there should be exactly 13 stripes for the 13 original states, 7 red and 6 white (nevermind that a wreath is not flag-shaped at all!).

Kristen has a knit version of the American Flag wreath at Studio Knit. However, the straight stockinette stitch isn't too exciting and the felt stars aren't knit. And 14 stripes - nope!

Both of these wreaths are 12" and I also wanted a 16" wreath to put on a door. To keep the cost down, I went with the old reliable Red Heart Super Saver yarn in Soft Navy, Cherry Red and White. For variety, I chose the rice stitch, super simple with an interesting texture. I loved the crochet stars, so I dusted off my crochet skills to utilize Kara's pattern.

Here are the supplies:

Red Heart Super Saver Jumbo Yarn Soft Navy
Red Heart Super Saver Jumbo Yarn Cherry Red
Red Heart Super Saver Jumbo Yarn White

Floralcraft Extruded Styrofoam Wreath 16"

Here's the pattern, using size 8 (5mm) knitting needles:

Starting with the red yarn, cast on 25 stitches. Use the following rice pattern throughout:
  • Row 1: Purl 1, *knit 1 through the back loop (tbl), purl 1. Repeat from * across.
  • Row 2: Knit across
For the striping, alternate 12 rows of red with 12 rows white for 13 stripes, ending with red.  The striped portion should cover about 2/3 of the wreath circle. Finish with 70 rows of blue. Fit over the foam core to check the length and then join the blue to the red using a three needle bind off on the back side.

For the stars, use the white yarn, an I-9 (5.5mm) crochet hook and work in the round:
  • Make a magic ring.
  • Work *1 sc into ring, 1 dc into ring, ch 2, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, 1 dc into ring.
  • Repeat from * 4 more times.
  • End with 1 sc into ring and join.
Attached the stars to the blue portion using the yarn ends from the stars before putting it on the foam core. Space the stars tightly as they will "spread" after installing of the foam core. I couldn't get 13 stars to fit, so here it is with 10. Attach the flag to the wreath using a mattress stitch on the back side (it should reach all the way around).

It looks great on our door!

American Flag Wreath on Door

However, this is one of those projects where the journey was far more interesting that the destination. While I was in the midst of making the stars, we often put the round flag portion around our necks as it made a perfect cowl or infinity scarf. So up next is an American Flag scarf, especially with all that leftover yarn! This scarf is being knit in a 1x1 rib as the rice stitch curls a bit.

American Flag scarf in progress

It's a lot easier to explain to people when they ask that I'm knitting an American Flag scarf as opposed to an American Flag wreath. Or if I get tired, a Where's Waldo scarf!
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