Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Procrastination

Its been a good long time since I have suffered with the procrastination that I am pushing through at this moment. There are many things that cause procrastination. Perfectionism. Lack of Focus. Fear of Failure. But, for me right now it is task anxiety. I just do not feel like taking the plunge into anything new right now.

In the fall I like to settle into warm, friendly, easy  stuff. Right now my to-do is full of stressful, decision-filled tasks that I don't really have any idea how they will turn out. Intimidating for me.

I need to design two new hats and sew an apron. By tomorrow. I have pushed it off for so long that the moment is here.

So, how do we get past the urge to procrastinate?

Visualization and Discipline!

I just visualize it already done. When something diverts my attention I tell myself no...not until this is finished! And then I remember how good it feels to finish something.

So on with the yarn!! *waves hook*

PS...I am so excited. I finished painting my kitchen. It took forever to choose a green. :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Windows 8 Windows+ Shortcut Keys

Recently I got Windows 8. I got home and found that there was an update. It was free and easy. "Windows 8.1" (I just googled it for the download).
Since we play video games we had a little struggle getting the computer to bipass the integrated graphics card and recognize the beefy one I needed to play Final Fantasy 14 online without lag. We had to access boot menu and enable/disable somethings. It was a hard half hour! 
But now that it is working I am getting to know Windows 8(.1) and like it (kinda). I am a simple girl. I didnt need new apps/bells/whistles on my PC. But, they are here and that is fine. The list before is what you can pull up with the Windows icon key on your keyboard when you hold it down with other letters and symbols. Its a little more reliable that the swiping. 

Useful Windows Shortcut Keys –
  1. WINDOWS key – to switch between desktop and modern(metro) interface
  2. ALT+TAB – to switch between apps recently opened
  3. WINDOWS+C – open the Windows 8 charms
  4. WINDOWS+Q – see all apps
  5. WINDOWS+X – very handy to see the control panel
  6. WINDOWS+Z- to see app bar properties down
  7. WINDOWS+Q- search the apps
  8. WINDOWS+D – to get desktop interface
  9. WINDOWS+F – to search a file
  10. WINDOWS+TAB – modern taskbar
  11. WINDOWS+I – to get settings
  12. WINDOWS+R – run dialog
  13. WINDOWS+L – to lock the computer
  14. WINDOWS+P – switch to presentation
  15. Hold WINDOWS plus – Zoom in
  16. Hold WINDOWS minus – Zoom out

Monday, October 21, 2013

Little Red Riding Hood

I have been crocheting. Quite a bit really. It kept my hands busy during the move.

This was for a swap last month. I sent Gozer a Little Red Riding Hood for her to wear.

I used the Ruadh pattern on Ravelry. It turned out beautifully. The pattern is fabulous. BUT...the stitch the body is in took much longer than I expected. So this is not a quick project.

 
 

This picture shows a little of the detail around the edge. It went all the way up one side, over the hood and down the other side. That was a long strip of crocheted cables. I got VERY familiar with the pattern.
But I am very happy with how it turned out. Hopefully it keeps her warm for a long time!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sewing A Purse

I love bags! I knew I had to be a part of the purse swap on Craftster!!!

So I joined. I get a little stressed about my sewing machine. But I am happy with how it turned out.

I sewed Spidermom a HUGE purple bag with lots of goodies to fill it up!

 
 
I even got to try felting! I felted hearts on the zipper pouch and phone case. :)
 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fitbit One

Its a gorgeous day out. It is juuust starting to get cold. My coconut oil is solidifying in its jar. The pumpkin spice is beginning to appear everywhere I go. Pants.

This summer was eye-opening. I moved from California to Texas. I came from the desert and our temps were always comparable. But our humidity was NOTHING compared to here. The first time I went for a run I thought I was going to have to call and have someone pick me up. It felt like my lungs just lost the will to breath. Heavy. Sadly, I let the heat win. I stopped in week five of my C25K program.

But, I am back! I will begin my C25K program this week. I expect to accomplish this with flying colors now that the heat is behind me.

I also purchased a Fitbit One. I am in love. (5575 steps so far today!)



It coordinates with my food log and wearing it makes me much more likely to log my food. Sometimes that just slips my mind. For days. I even lost a few pounds this week!

If you are on the fence I highly recommend grabbing a FitBit One.

Here is a link to where they sell it on Amazon

I grabbed mine at BestBuy, thought. Once I made the decision I really wanted that instant gratification. I am not one to buy something on a whim. I thought about this for a few weeks. I am glad that I did. It has made my calorie count on MyFitnessPal SO much more accurate. Depending on how much I move during the day my calorie output can vary about 400 calories. That is not including my workouts...just my daily calorie output living my life. Sometimes I am super sedentary. When I have a big crochet project. Tuesdays I am often lazy. Its my "day off". I clean the house on Mondays...I had no problem destroying my 10K steps on cleaning day.

I have had MANY step counters. But this one is by far the most sensitive without counting steps that didn't really happen. I test it often. It also talks to my Iphone. So I log my food in MFP on my Iphone and see how many calories that I can still eat on my Fitbit App. Its a little higher than my MFP calories allow. So far its working really well.

I am very careful to log my water on Fitbit. Water is huge if you are trying to lose weight. Sometimes I forget to cram it in between cups of coffee.

Fitbit One also logs sleep. I was happy to see that I am a very efficient sleeper. I guess having two boys will do that for you. It tells me if I woke up. That's not news. But it also lets me know how many restless moments I have during the night. That is more enlightening.

So Monday morning C25K. :) The jogging stroller is ready!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

We are (finally) in Texas!!

I have so missed blogging. Since my last post we sold the house in California. It went to the most amazing young couple. I just loved them! We weren't sure that the deal would go through on their end but we gave it a try and the stars aligned just so. It was wonderful. We loved that house and our neighbors there. We are so glad that they will all have one another now.

We packed up a car, a truck and a tiny trailer and traveled from Southern California with our two boys and our two dogs...and everything we own. It took three days of driving through summer rains, dropped bags (we aren't big on boxes. We move with totes and bags). But we arrived on my brother in laws doorstep and got everything packed into a storage unit. They took us in for over a month and a half! It took a few weeks to find the house and then we had to wait for the sale to go through. Brother and Sister in law are angels. And their dogs are awesome. We had such a wonderful time getting to know them better. The boys just love them now.

My oldest is no longer homeschooling. He is in public school and just LOVING it. He never loved school in California. Not since 3rd grade did he love school. That's why homeschooling was such a blessing when we found it. But so far he is doing just great. So now its just me and the baby for one more year until he starts school, too. That opens up a huge new world of "what next" for me, too. The options are vast.

The new house!! Oh my gosh...we just love it. Its bigger than we wanted and sometimes that stinks. We are used to close quarters. Our last home was just over 900 square feet. We are used to being in the same room and hearing everything one another are up to. Hear we all have more space than we are used to. Two living rooms, two bathrooms and split bedrooms. We have slept with Izzy since he was born but he is now happily sleeping in his own room. Plus, my husband and I moved up to a king size bed from a queen. Even more space. It feels so weird!

The house is newer than our house in California. 2001. So it didn't need much work. But, it didn't feel right. So we painted the almondy-cream walls all bright white. I love bright white walls. Except the boys bedrooms. They are grey. We ripped out every inch of carpet and replaced it with vinyl plank. It looks like wood but it will hold up to our boys and the dogs much better. And us. The husband and I would be no picnic for a wood floor either. We left EVERYTHING behind in California so we got to pick out new furniture and appliances. Lots of fun! We have gotten all of this done in the week that we were waiting to have our internet put in. (Yesterday! *throws confetti*)

I have my craft area almost set up. Its all where it belongs...but not yet organized and usable. I will be DIYing some shelves. :)

Ten random things:
  • I got a haircut and I am not loving it at ALL
  • Izzy has been biting his nails and his little fingers are all red. Im thinking about trying that stuff that makes their nails taste bad.
  • Last month Izzy had TWO weeks where he was exploring tantrums. Tantrums unlike anything I have ever seen. But, we got him past it.
  • We went to Shreveport last week and met up with Joelle. We had the best time and went to SciPort. Izzy played and played. It was adorable.
  • The sky is just gorgeous here in Texas! Day and night.
  • I started a 9 day juice fast. Letting go of what no longer serves me and cleansing. Today was day one and its always the hardest day for me.
  • Errol joined the culinary program at school. He is really loving it.
  • My new neighbors are all awesome.
  • We got our Texas license plates!!
  • I recently learned that at homecoming time they have a tradition here in Texas. They call them mums. They are huge, decorative, glittery, embellished corsages with streamers and ribbons hanging from them. They are everywhere here! They look like this:
Yeah...I don't know them. That was a random google'd picture. But you get the idea. They get bigger, too.
Until next time!

Mel

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Im Home!!! From a day at Disneyland... *collapse*

My little guy just had an awesome birthday. We woke up and had messy chocolate and whipped cream covered waffles with bacon. Got out of his jammies and headed straight to Disneyland (i.e. The Happiest Place On Earth).

The prices are high but so is the inspiration for a crafter. Here are some things I saw that really got me wanting to grab a skein and a hook and get to work!

"Top 6 most inspiring things that I saw at Disneyland today"

1. The knit yoda in mickey ears. I squealed a little when I saw it in the shop near the exit of Space Mountain. I will be replicating this in yarn.The Ears might be removable...
 
 
 
2.  Feathers, rhinestones and silk rosettes...all together. SUPER cute.
 
 
 
 
 
 
3. Jack Skellington: He should be appliqued on EVERYTHING.
 
 
 
 
 
 
4. Chewy back buddies! These backpacks were on every other person in the park. I love  plushies and these are super sized plushies.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5. Red with white polka dots. Minnie is an inspiration.




6. Mint Juleps! Yum. I have never gone to Disneyland and not gotten one. Here is a recipe for a non-alcoholic version just like theirs!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I have been very quiet.

Mostly because I taught myself to knit and felt kind of awkward sharing my knittings on my crochet blog. But, that's just silly. It's all yarn! :)

I did make this last night, though. :)

 
 
 
 

 
Its a super fun, fast project from Julie King at Gleeful Things. It is a purchased pattern and here is the link. I bought it in a bundle when she had about 10 patterns for $15 last holiday season. This one is for a friend. I think I need one in a fun, bright color. Maybe turquoise like in her advertisement for the pattern. I love turquoise!
 
Another reason I have been SO SO SO quiet is that we are moving. We put the house up for sale, we got an offer and accepted. We have since done all of our part for the sale (termite, home inspection, paperwork and such)...and now we wait and see if the sale will workout. There is good and bad to this. The only bad being that I am very impatient when it comes to not knowing what will happen next. (This makes Christmas painful) The good is that the perspective close date would be early August...so I have two weeks to settle in, be lazy and get back to my yarn!
 
When we decided to sell our little house we wanted to make it look bigger so we put away all of the "extras". My cute stuff came off the walls and the shelves came off the wall. Everything that we don't NEED NEED this summer went into totes and got packed away. We had to keep the house in "visitor ready" condition 24/7. So it was hard to craft. I'm a messy crafter.
 
When the house does sell we are off to Texas! It is a big move from California. We have been planning it for nearly five years now. We are ready. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I would like to send a huge thank you to ChemKnits. In 2009 she made a cactuar chart. This was my first knitted character hat so not having to make a chart really helped me! Here is the link to her chart.
This hat is for a guy. He is in our linkshell on FFXIV and likes cactuars.
Yarn: Black is Impeccable Yarn, Green is RHSS in Spring Green, White is Impeccable Yarn, Brown is Simply Soft.
Needles: Size 8 Circular Neeles...16", Boye I believe.

I cast on 88 stitches using the long tail method.

The inch of the hat (6 rows) I k2 x r2 for the ribbing

After that I knit around (88) 1 time before starting the chart. The chart 5 1/2" tall x 4 1/2" wide. Its really sizeable. After finishing the chart I only needed to keep knitting around for one more inch. I then k6k2t1 around until there were 20 stitches left. Then cast off and sewed the circle closed on the inside.

The close isnt perfect and I have some gapping at a few places where the black and green meet on the chart.

 But I am getting better really fast. I have been knitting for about a month now. I love colorwork so I will be keeping at it.

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Triceratops Amigurumi

I crocheted the cutest triceratops amigurumi my little boy! He worked up fast and the pattern was simple to follow. I bought the pattern.
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I am really pleased with him. I made him out of Red Heart Super Saver...that means he will probably live forever. Unlike his relatives.
Happy Easter everyone. I hope that you each have a warm and beautiful holiday. We will be visiting the in-laws tomorrow. I am hoping that we all waking up feeling great. The whole family has been fighting a germ this week. SO gross.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I met a girl. She did not like some people where she worked and it was no secret. So she asked me to make them out of yarn so that she can bring them into meetings with her and tell them that they are voodoo dolls. I never would have thought of this but I really enjoyed the project! I had no pictures...just what she told me to go on. I hunted down some patterns and tweaked them alot. She was SO pleased with how they turned out.
For the man I used Snuffikins Pattern. I improvised for the suitcase and the hair. She wanted him to look really old and cranky. Thats why there is so much going on with his face.
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And for her...
I used a Talkshow Host Pattern. It was from the writer of this fine blog. Allison Hoffman and Crafty is Cool. I want to make all of her patterns now. I got the biggest kick out of the high heels, I think. I have never crocheted high heels and I was not sure how that was going to work out. I did not follow the pattern exactly...her patterns are posable and I didnt add any wires.
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I did a swap with friends and wanted to crochet something that was the same for each of them...with different colors to suit their decor.
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They are each 16 circles in squares. I used this pattern from Manners Crochet and Craft. These circles worked up super fast. Then I just whip-stitched them together. My first attempt was the pillow on the right. That one I tried to crochet the squares together and I did not like the outcome. The two pillows on the left turned out much cuter with the whipstitch assembly.
I did a granny square on the back of one. The other two I backed them with felt and sewed it on with my machine. Fast and simple.
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In the end it all worked out well and I really enjoyed the swap. The pillow I received are adorable. I will post them as soon as I get them stuffed!

Monday, May 20, 2013

I made this Amigurumi recently for a swap. I could not find a pattern that suited me. Too small for the most part. This guy measures about 8" tall. I like that size for a doll.
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I will be writing out a pattern for him very soon. While I do I will work a few more up and throw them on my Etsy page.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/128016171/vincent-valentine-amigurumi

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I got a present!! Spring Swap Package. :)

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Pretty packages wrapped up in colorful paper!

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She sent yarn! Peruvian Cotton. Its so soft. I just love it!
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Berocco Vintage in a beautiful navy blue. This is going to make the most beautiful hat! I cannot wait to get started!
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She sewed this beautiful project bag with a little pocket on the side. I am in love. AND this cute little purse on a key fob with little crystals on the side.
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Yummy treats!! (The chocolate mints have disappeared...must have gotten lost somewhere).
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Fabric and glitter and springy boxes. I love the way the purple flowers pop against the turquoise int he fabric. I not sure what they will become just yet. Hmmm...
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And there it is. You would think this was more than enough. A perfect and wonderful present. But...there is more. If you can believe that. I opened up one of those springy little boxes and found SOCKS!

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Socks!!!!! Beauiful, soft, emeraldy-green, hand knitted socks! I love them. My toddler got me sick so its the perfect time to be wearing hand knitted socks. They just make you feel better.
LOL I didnt notice my Pickles paws in the background when I was taking the pictures. I love her.

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There it is! In all its glory. I feel like such a lucky swap partner. She really outdid herself. I am spoiled rotten.

Link from Zelda Hat - Free Crochet Pattern

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I am first and foremost a crochet-er. :) I taught myself to crochet way back last month and it has been taking up a good sized chunk of my time. When I entered a swap recently I knew I wanted to make her a Link from Zelda hat...but I figured I would just knit one up.
Attempt number 1 was just awful. It wasn't even hat-like. I frogged it.
Attempt number 2 is actually a hat. And a cute, slouchy one that I kept for myself. But, not a bit like the hat Link wore. It needed length and pointiness. So I fell back on what (I feel) I do best. Crochet. An hour later I had my hat. What a waste of 2 days. At least I have a little green hat in my collection to show for it.
She loved it and looked SO cute in it. In celebration I want to share this very simple and fun pattern with you.
What you need for this adult woman sized hat.
  • Worsted Weight Yarn. The sample is grass green in I Love This Yarn. (Go Hobby Lobby!)
  • Size J Crochet Hook
  • I'm still writing so that it seems more complicated. But, nope...that's it.
It is very stretchy. If you want it super big for a big guy then I would take it out to 72 stitches instead of the 66 that I have here. You would do so by adding a row after 18 where you increase every 10 stitches. Then crochet around as the instructions direct.
Note: ss into the first stitch in the row and chain 2 at the end of each row.
Row 1) 8 dc in a magic circle. (8)
(here is a video if you are new to the magic circle)
Row 2) 2 DC in each stitch around (16)
Row 3) *DC, 2 DC* around (24)
Row 4-8) DC around (24)
Row 9) *DC in 3 stitches, 2 DC in the next stitch* repeat * to * 5 more times (30)
Row 10) DC around (30)
Row 11) *DC in 4 stitches, 2 DC in next stitch* repeat * to * 5 more times. (36)
Row 12) DC around (36)
Row 13) *DC in 5 stitches, 2 DC in next stitch* repeat * to * 5 more times.(42)
Row 14) DC around (42)
Row 15) *DC in 3 stitches, 2 DC in the next stitch* repeat * to * 9 times and then DC in the last two stitches (52)
Row 16) DC around (52)
Row 17) *DC in 4 stitches, 2 DC in the next stitch* repeat * to * 9 times, DC in the last two stitches (62)
Row 18) *DC in 14 stitches, 2 DC in next stitch* repeat * to * 3 times, DC in the last 2 stitches
Row 19-22) DC around (66)

(The ribbed edge begins here)
Row 23-25) Alternate FPDC and BPDC around (66)
Here is a video for help with FPDC and BPDC if you would like to a refresher.

Fasten Off. Weave in tails and work it.
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Very slouchtastic and pointy.
Hugs, Mel

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tricorne Pirate Hat Crochet Pattern


Im taking part in the summer nerd games and this is my first entry. :) Its a pirate tricorne hat like the ones found in Limsa Lominsa in FFXIV


Just a quickie pattern if you want to make one like it! :)

Items You Need
Red Yarn -RHSS
Heather Grey Yarn - RHSS
G Hook
Stitch Marker (I use a little piece of contrasting yarn and just pull it out and replace it at the beginning of each row so I dont lose my place when working in the round)
Yarn Needle
Scissors.


I started in the center of the hat forming the "beanie" of it first. My gauge with Red Heart on a G Hook is 4st x 4st gives me one square inch. The drop on this hat is only 7"...you dont want it to come down to your eye brows before you begin the brim or it will look really odd. So the beanie portion is 22" wide and the drop is 7".

I worked in the round and did NOT slip stitch chain one at the end of each row. I used a stitch marker and just kept working in the circle.

The hat only uses single crochet. When I say "sc inc" it means sc two times in that one stitch. :)

Row 1) 6 sc in a magic loop circle. Cinch your circle closed and continue to row 2 (6)
2) sc increase in each stitch around (12)
3) *sc, sc inc* around (18)
4) *sc 2 times, sc inc* around (24)
5) *sc 3 times, sc inc* around (30)
6) *sc 4 times, sc inc* around (36)
7) sc around (35)
8) *sc 5 times, sc inc* around (42)
9) sc around (42)
10) *sc 6 times, sc inc* around (48)
11) sc around (48)
12) *sc 7 times, sc inc* around (54)
13) sc around (54)
14) *sc 8 times, sc inc* around (60)
15) *sc 9 times, sc inc* around (66)
16) sc around (66)
17) *sc 10 times, sc inc* around (72)
18) sc around (72)
19) *sc 11 times, sc inc* around (78)
20) *sc 12 times, sc inc* around (84)
21) *sc 13 times, sc inc* around (90)
22-26) sc around (90)

That was it for the part that sits on your head...we are now continuing on to the brim. No need to fasten off ...just keep working in the round.

27) *sc 6 times, sc inc* around (102)
28) *sc 7 times, sc inc* around (114)
29) *sc 8 times, sc inc* around (126)
30) *sc 9 times, sc inc* around (138)
31) *sc 10 times, sc inc* around (150)
32) *sc 11 times, sc inc* around (162)
33) *sc 12 times, sc inc* around (174)
34) *sc 13 times, sc inc* around (186)
35) sc around (186) Slip Stitch, Fasten off.

Attach Gray Yarn

36) *sc 14 times, sc inc* around (198)
37) *sc 15 times, sc inc* around (210)
38) sc around (210) Slip Stitch, Fasten off.

I made the end where I fastened off the back of the hat.

Now you have a great big, floppy hat. Turn the hat inside out so that when you fold the edges up in a "tricorne hat shape" the "right side" is facing out on the sides.

Like this...


I figured it is more important that the sides that everyone can see are the right side of the crochet fabric, as opposed to the top of the hat...fewer people will see that.

After flipping it "inside out" just shape it however want it to look. It is about personal preference. I did not want my edges to be too sharply folded. I like the rounded corners. Once you find how you want it to look then just use the complimentary yarn, cut a few strands and sew it to keep it that shape.

Just a Note: When you are sewing the outside just enter a stitch and take the working yarn into a hole that is above and on stitch to the right or left. Just like you are cross-stitching. This will make the stitching nearly impossible to see. I learned this by "accident".

I sewed the red and then I sewed a few strands through the gray also. It curled a bit before I stitched through the gray a few times.

Finished product! :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Moose!

It was a long, boring process. But, isn't he cute?!




 
I bought the pattern from someone called "nutsaboutcrochet13" ...I found the pattern on pinterest...followed that to ravelry...then it directed me elsewhere. Then it showed up in my email account so I have NO idea how to link back to her. I made ALOT of modifications. I made it larger and the starts and finisheds and feet and legs and such are all different than the pattern suggested. But it was a nice pattern (if not expensive) to use as a guide. I don't see many moose around here so a guide was nice. :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Shorts by Made With Moxie

I was lucky enough to be able to test The Moxie Girls new shorts pattern (click to see her blog). The pattern is called Prefontaine Shorts. I made TWO pair for my toddler in no time at all. I got to work last night before bed and by the time I finished my coffee this morning I had finished TWO pair. I needed to wait to finish them this morning because he had to be awake to size the elastic on his waist.

I am not an amazing sewer (seamstress? thread operator?)...so my first pair were a "test". I always do a test run before sewing something. But, BOTH pairs ended up being very wearable. My son is actually wearing them. Usually it takes some coaxing to get Izzy to like something I have made.

I made my first pair in Go Diego Go fabric. I have had it for a while...waiting for something special. The second pair was made out of zesty monster truck cotton with green trim.

Pics!!













Thank you Made With Moxie! I loved the project and cannot wait to make more.