DIY Knitted Hat

We had a birthday here yesterday. Our sweet boy turned 16. It’s so hard to believe, seems like we just brought him home from the hospital yesterday. He is growing up far too fast. One of the issues I have with my kids growing up is that they have become harder to buy inexpensive gifts for.

Remember the days when you could find a cute little outfit for a few bucks at a rummage sale? Or the simple gift of a few precious new books to read?

Teenagers are hard to buy for.

Even harder to make things for.

I am undaunted by this challenge, I refuse to give in to conventional gift giving rules.

 A few weeks ago I signed myself up for a knitting class on how to make hats. Living in Wi, we always have a need for hats. In fact, we loose about 3-4 of them per person per year. Somewhere there is a giant pile of lost hats from our family.

I have decided to personally make my own so that they will stand out in a pile of lost hats, and will be distinctive and easy to find. I tend to favor bright colors, especially for the boys.

This is the hat I made for our boy for his birthday. He loves it. He actually wore it IN PUBLIC. This is a good start!

You would be amazed how easy it was to make. I am not saying I didn’t have issues, because I did. My dear friend had to come and help me finish the top of it because I had accidentally knitted it into a lopsided point. But, we figured it out and I can’t wait to make another one.

If you can knit and purl, you can make this hat. It’s that simple.

If you are not a knitter there are tons of videos on how to do basic stitches on You Tube. Don’t be daunted, you can do it.

Here’s what you will need:

2 Skeins of color coordinated bulky yarn ( mine were neon yellow, and tweed blue)

Size 8 circular needles, 16″ long (or needles appropriately sized for your yarn)

Set of double pointed needles in same size as the circular needles

Darning needle

This pattern is based on one created by master knitter Liz Avery. This hat fits a medium head of 23″- 25″ circumference. If you need a larger size, increase the number of cast on stitches.


Cast on 64 stitches.

Using blue yarn, knit 2 stitches, purl 2 until end of round, place marker. Join needles to knit in the round.

Knit as directed, K2, P2 until ribbing is 2″ wide.

Begin increase round, adding 8 stitches evenly throughout the first round (you will have 72 stitches total).

Knit every stitch for 2 rows using blue yarn.

Change to yellow yarn color, leaving a 4″ tail. Knit 3 rows. Change back to blue yarn by pulling yarn up inside the hat to the next section.

Continue to Knit 3 rows blue, then 3 rows yellow. Repeat 4 times to make stripes.

Change to blue yarn, knit until hat measures 9″ in length from the edge of the brim. Change to yellow yarn to begin decrease round.

Begin decrease round, divide number of stitches by 4, knit evenly onto double pointed needles, adding a marker at each interval (tip, use different colored markers than the beginning of the round marker).

Round 1 Decrease: Knit by k2tog before marker, skip marker, K1 SSK, repeat until end of round. Make sure to make both decreases before and after each marker ( or the top of your hat will be a lopsided point).

Round 2 Decrease: Knit

Repeat rounds one and two until there are only 8 stitches left. Cut yarn leaving a 6″ tail. Thread yarn through darning needle, pick up remaining stitches from the double pointed needles. Thread needle through all stitches, then down through the top of the hat. Turn hat inside out, weave in end of yarn, snip to finish.

Let me know how it works, I would love to see your finished projects! I am also on Ravelry, you can follow me at designermom4.

Have a great day!

Valentine’s Day Bling

Welcome friends to my new domain! I am now a .com instead of a There are a number of reasons to make this move, one of which was that I no longer had access to my old domain for some crazy reason! I guess I needed a push to make the jump. It’s all for the best however, and moving my domain was one of my New Year’s Goals for 2014. How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions?

This decision, as much as I wanted to do it, didn’t come with out complete panic and a whole lot of scrambling!

We are hard at work moving all links and files over to this new location, the move should be complete soon. Bear with me just a little longer!

I have been working on a few new projects in between snow storms, I am so ready for spring! Are you?

I have had a few project fails, and need to go back to the drawing board on a few things. I have some ugly candle sticks that need a complete re-do. They are truly, seriously UGLY.

The scarf I stayed up late to knit didn’t turn out at all and rather makes me look like I am choking when I put it on. I like it anyway, but I don’t think it’s a blog worthy item.

I do like how my Valentine’s Day Heart turned out. I made the Heart Garland out of felt and hung it above the chalkboard wall in our dining room.

Then I added some BLING with crystal topped upholstery nail heads that I hammered into the wall into a heart shape. A piece of pink ribbon woven between the nails makes for a fun presentation.

Everything looks better with a little BLING, don’t you think?

More to come!



Visit to Chi-Town

We are back from a weekend of fun and relaxation in the big city. A yearly trip to Chicago always makes me inspired. I come home ready to take on new projects and think of things in a whole new light. Perhaps you could use a weekend away as well? Here’s my tips on having a great experience in the Windy City!

We stayed in a hotel next to the famous Chicago Merchandise Mart. It is a giant building, taking up an entire city block.
The Mart brings back memories of my days when I went there on business. It was a million years ago.
Tip: traveling on a weekend will save you about 50% or more on your hotel expenses.

Because we were visiting on a weekend the majority of the Mart was closed, but there are a number of shops and restaurants on the main floor. Most of them are wholesale showrooms, which generally make up the Mart. This mannequin is dressed in a ceramic tile shirt. Isn’t it awesome?
Tip: Plan ahead for meals. Eating out in downtown Chicago is very expensive. There are very few grocery stores around.

This beautiful gown is also made of ceramic tile. WOW!
Staying near the Mart has it’s advantages and disadvantages. On a weekend, the place is practically deserted. The Chicago River makes for beautiful views.
There is something about city architecture that I love. It just has an urban feel we don’t see out here in the country.

I could just take this bridge home with me. I love it!
The views from our hotel were awesome. We were on the 23rd floor. Does the City of Chicago own a fire truck with a ladder that big?
Don’t answer that. I don’t think I want to know.
We were just a short walk from the Miracle Mile shopping area.

Our boys weren’t quite sure about walking in the snow. Apparently a few of them forgot to dress for the weather. This is the WINDY City after all.
Tip: Bring boots, hats and gloves.

I absolutely love row houses!

We were fortunate to have a beautiful light snow while we were there. So Christmassy!

Macy’s is now in the old Lord and Taylor building on Michigan Avenue. I was pretty impressed with this particular store. Great selection of merchandise and good prices. The sales people were also very helpful.

Shopping gives you an appetite, so we headed for lunch at this little place just down the street from Water Tower Place. It’s called Flacos Tacos.
Home of the biggest plate of nachos you have ever seen for $7.95. Best deal in town!

I was completely taken with their display of mosaics in these old windows. Brilliant!

We liked this place so much, we even came back again the second day.
Tip: Try their burritos, they are enormous! We loved their rice water drinks as well! Just delicious!

Day two found us at the Shedd Aquarium. The last time we were here our oldest boy was in Kindergarden. The Shedd was our first home school field trip!
Definitely a million years ago!
My boys grabbed my phone and took pictures of every fish in the place.
The sea horses are my favorite. So beautiful!
Tip: On the Shedd Aquarium website, they advertise their general admission tickets for $8.00 each. General admission is all you need to see the basics. It does not include the dolphin show or special exhibits, but for our purposes it was great. You must ask for these tickets at the door, they are not advertised. It is sad that everyone thinks you have to pay $37.00 per person at the door, when you can get in for only $8.00 if you ask for the general admission.
Of course, along with more sight seeing, comes more hunger. This little place called BRUNCH was great!
I love their chic urban style.
Great food, especially the french toast with creme fraiche! Yummy!
I also loved their burlap light fixtures and beautiful beams on the ceiling.
Tip: If you like them on Facebook, you can save 10 percent on your meal. I had issues logging in and by the time we ate, I still couldn’t figure it out. Oh, well. Next time.

One of our last stops was Crate and Barrel on Michigan Ave. They have such beautiful furniture. I loved these industrial shelves. 
Honey, will you build these for me for Christmas?
We loved visiting down town Chicago. Our trip ended with an epic shopping and eating frenzy at Ikea, but that will have to be a separate post!
Time to wrap and all those things!
Only one week til Christmas! Are you ready?

Virtual Progressive Thanksgiving

Welcome friends! Glad you could join me for the Virtual Progressive Thanksgiving Dinner blog tour!
Nothing compares to a beautiful center piece for the holidays.  I realized that if you are cooking a big meal, sometimes the center piece is the last thing you want to worry about.

Fortunately, this one you can make a head of time with just a few simple supplies.

You will need:
 1/2 dozen or more white roses (I got mine at Aldi’s for $3.99)
  3 lb. bag of yellow delicious apples
  3 lb. bag of one of red pares
3 pomegranates
3 white tapered candles
3 small blocks of floral foam (from the Dollar Store)
Miscellaneous greenery
6 or more Mason Jar lids
You could use any combination of fruit in this arrangement. I bought what was on sale. I choose not to use tooth picks to anchor the fruit, because I want to be able to eat it later. The Mason jar rings hold the fruit in place and keep it from rolling about on the tray.
I began by planning out where everything would go on my tray. The foam in this photo turned out to be too large, so I switched to the smaller pieces. I nestled the fruit inside the Mason bands, it will get covered up with the greenery in the end.
I pushed 3 candles down into the floral foam in the center of the fruit. I trimmed the greenery into 3″ pieces and stuck them into the foam.
 Then the roses were cut with stems about 2″ long and poked into the foam as well. The object is to cover as much of the foam as possible with the roses and greenery. Don’t forget to add the leaves from the rose stems.

I put leaves under and next to the fruit as well. The Mason jar bands completely disappeared in the arrangement.

The last step is to add water to the tray. The flowers soak up considerable water, check it frequently by touching the floral foam with your finger. If it is dry to the touch, it needs another drink. I do not recommend using Floral Fresh in this arrangement since the fruit is touching the water. You could add a bit of 7UP soda to it and extend the life of the flowers.
The arrangement will last about 5 days. Easy to make in advance of the big cooking day. I think you could easily expect to purchase an arrangement such as this and spend $40.00 or more, this one cost me less than $12.00 to make.
A few mini-white pumpkins really bring out the color of the roses in the center piece.

Be sure and check out these other blogs on the tour! 
Have a beautiful holiday!
November Fourteenth:
Printables –
Decor –
Table Decor and Ideas – 
Drinks –
Appetizers –
November Fifteenth:
Soups – 
Salads –
Main Dishes –
Side Dishes –
Desserts – 
Parting Gifts –

31 Days of Cleansing: Day 10 Aromatherapy

I love essential oils. They are incredibly beneficial and under estimated in their effectiveness to promote healing. Each oil has it’s own individual healing properties and can be used in different ways depending on your family’s health needs. 
There are both warm and cold methods of diffusing essential oils. Warm diffusers release the fragrance of the oil with heat. You can purchase a ceramic diffusing ring that fits over a light bulb in a lamp from health food stores such as Whole Foods. I prefer to do it the cheapskate way, with a mason jar ring. 

I put the ring over the bulb with a few drops of essential oil in it. As the metal heats up, the fragrance is released into the room. It’s amazing how effective it is. For the holidays I used a cinnamon cent. It was wonderful. When my kids are squirmy, I use lavender to calm them.

This method is recommended for use in 15-20 increments. As you get more used to the oils, you can increase the frequency of the treatments. The heat is said to slightly alter the effects of the oil, but I have gotten good results this way, so I have never tried the cold diffusing method.

Several drops of oil can be applied at a time to the spinal cord and covered with a warm towel while they are absorbed. Some oils need to be diluted with vegetable oil before using. I have never tried this but it sounds divine. When you get a massage at a spa they frequently use this treatment.

Or you can apply the oils directly to the tip of your ears. This is called auricular therapy. This part of your ear has the most nerve endings and the oils are quickly absorbed. The bottom of your feet is another area of many nerve endings, a few drops rubbed in here are very beneficial to your body. I often use peppermint oil this way to ward off my asthma. It works great! I haven’t used an inhaler in years.

By the way, this great little book above has lots more ideas on how to use essential oils. I love how it’s laid out, by symptoms. So for example, if you are experiencing sadness, you can look it up and see that orange oil would be beneficial for your condition.

These are some of the oils I use in the house. We use cypress, cedarwood, rosemary, ylang ylang, lemongrass, and basil oils regularly. I also love lavender, geranium, and orange scents.

Tomorrow we will talk more on some specific ways to use them.

Designer Mom