Octopus Mobile

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Our baby swing came with a really boring mobile: three identical, beige bears.  I’ve put up with it through four kids, but today I decided that baby C needs something a little more exciting.  So I went through my yarn stash and found three colors which matched the swing and crocheted three octopuses.

Now we have an octopus mobile.  Baby C loves it.

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octopus pattern available here: https://fivemonkeysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/easy-one-piece-fairly-realistic-octopus/

 

Easy, one-piece, fairly realistic Octopus

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This will probably be the easiest pattern I ever post.  But, who knows.  I have some cool Christmas tree ornament patterns I might write up someday.  On a side note, the octopus would make a pretty awesome Christmas tree ornament, too.

It’s hard for me to estimate how long a project will take to crochet.  I wish I could just time it, but my usual crochet process goes something like this: choose a pattern then grab a hook and yarn from my stash.  Find the toddler and ask him to stop destroying whatever he is destroying.  Get followed and intensively questioned by the toddler.  Go and change the yarn color because the toddler wants me to make an octopus for him.  Start to crochet.  Get approximately 10 stitches done, then the baby wakes up from her nap.  Feed the baby, change the baby, rock the baby.  Get the baby playing happily.  Check on the toddler again.  Wonder what happened to my preschooler (he’s reading).  Work on the crochet project.  Baby starts crying.  Calm the baby.  Toddler gets into mischief.  Stop the toddler.  Distract the toddler by letting him choose eyes for the project.  Work on the project some more.  When I’m almost done, the toddler and preschooler will invariably start fighting just as the baby starts screaming.  Calm them all down, dry the tears, get them happily occupied again, and then finish the project.  But, that’s me.  Assuming you are able to just sit down and crochet, I think you could make 2-3 octopuses in an hour.

Anyway, digression aside, here is my easy, one-piece, fairly realistic octopus.  Made in just 20 steps.

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When finishing the octopus I like to run the yarn up through the head, cut it, and stretch the head to pull the yarn back inside.  Instead, you can use the yarn to hang the octopus as an ornament.

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The next pattern I plan to write up is my tiny turtle.   I’ll warn you though, they are addictive.IMG_9782 (2)

 

Easter Egg Pancakes

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On Easter morning I tried to sleep in a little while the boys went through their Easter baskets.  The baby was sleeping, so I didn’t want to get out of bed, but four boys with new treats require some supervision.  I got up earlier than I had hoped.

After all the goodies were cleaned up I was disappointed to learn that my eldest remembered that I had made Easter Egg Pancakes last year.  Needless to say, he wanted them again.  I gave in pretty easily.  It ended up taking an hour and a half to make the batter and the pancakes.  My husband got to sleep in (it was his turn) so I was trying to manage the four boys, keep the baby happy, and cook.  It can be a challenge.

I made six bowls of pancake batter, according to the recipe on the Bisquick box.  I’m not one of those super-perfect-everything-from-scratch mommies.  Each bowl had 1/2 batch of batter.  I think it was 1 cup of mix, 1/2 cup of milk, and 1 egg.  I used liquid egg whites, because it’s easier.  Then I added food coloring: red, purple, yellow, blue, green, and swirled.  Just because it sounded fun at the time, I decided to try to make each color of pancake a different flavor (bad decision from the time management perspective.)

To the pink I added defrosted strawberries and the strawberry juice.

To the green I added sliced granny smith apple and a little cinnamon.

To the yellow I added a mashed banana and some mini chocolate chips.

To the purple I added dried cranberries.  I wanted to do raisins, but we were out.

We were also out of blueberries, and I was running low on creativity (baby C was unhappy), so blue stayed plain.  Swirled was plain, too.

The cooking took a while, and A, the toddler, got very hungry and stared helping himself to pancakes before I finished them all.  Here’s what it takes to feed a family of seven with pancakes.  Notice they aren’t all nicely egg shaped.  This is real life and it’s really hard to make egg shaped pancakes when there are lumps of strawberry, apple, cranberries, etc in the batter.

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As shown at top, I served them a pancake of each color with maple syrup (the real stuff, of course) and a few Jordan almonds.  Because they look like Easter eggs.  And taste really good.  And I just wanted some and couldn’t get away with eating them unless I shared.

And now it’s going to end up being an annual tradition, I guess.

At least they can’t possibly remember that 4 1/2 years ago, on Halloween morning, I made them pumpkin shaped pancakes, containing canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices, with little jack’o’lantern faces made out of raisins.  At least, I hope they can’t remember.  We’ll find out in 7 months.

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Upcoming Projects

Here are some old critters I made a few years ago.  Over the next couple of weeks I’m hoping to brush them off, dress them up, and offer them for free download.  These aren’t my most realistic patterns, but they are fun.

Ponies

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Tiny Turtles

A very easy octopus

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I might even get to my dinosaurs.  These were all the ones I could find for a photo this evening.  They have been a favorite toy of my two-year-old for over a year.  I have patterns for ten different species: apatosaurus, brachiosaurus, plesiosaurus, pteranodon, dimetrodon, anylosaurus, parasaurolophus, stegosaurus, triceratops, and, of course, t-rex.

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And yes, the lobster is an original pattern of mine.  It will be available someday, but probably not for free.

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