Friday, April 14, 2017

Mini Egg Basket - Free Crochet Pattern

With Easter right around the corner, I thought I'd share my pattern for these fun little mini egg baskets.  




Size G/4.0 mm crochet hook
Lily Sugar n’ Cream cotton yarn
yarn needle

Stitch Guide:

ch - chain
sc - single crochet
dc - double crochet
rnd - round
inc - increase (two stitches into the same stitch)


Rnd 1: ch 2, 12 sc in second ch from hook; join with slip stitch.

Rnd 2: ch 3, dc in same stitch, dc inc in every stitch around (24 total); join w/ slip stitch.
Rnd 3: ch 3, dc in same stitch, dc inc in every other stitch around (36 total); join w/ slip stitch.

Rnd 4: ch 3, dc in same stitch, dc inc in every 3rd stitch around(48 total); join w/ slip stitch.

Rnd 5: ch 3, dc in same stitch, dc inc in every 4th stitch around (60 total); join w/ slip stitch.

Rnd 6: ch 3, dc in same stitch, dc in in every 5th stitch around (72 total); join w/ slip stitch.

Rnd 7: ch 3, dc in every stitch around (72 total); join w/ slip stitch.

Rnd 8-11: ch 3, sc, dc, repeat alternating sc, dc, in each stitch around (72 total, each rnd): join each row w/ slip stitch.

Rnd 12: sc around (72 total): join w/ slip stitch.

Rnd 13: sc 23, ch 14, skip 13 stitches, sc 23, ch 14, skip 13 (74 total); join with slip stitch.

Rnd 14: sc around (74 total)

Join, tie off, and use yarn needle to weave in ends.

copyright 2017 agirlandherneedle/charmain runyon

Monday, June 22, 2015

Homemade Whole Wheat & Molasses Bread

Swapped the sugar in this bread for molasses. It gives it such a nice flavor and color. Yumm!...

Posted by A Girl and her Needle on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mid-Century Peacocks

A lifetime ago, before kids, The Hubby and I used to spend a portion of our free time browsing antique shops. It's amazing how much free time you have BEFORE you have kids.

At first he wasn't really into antiquing with me.  He tolerated it because I enjoyed it.  That changed when he discovered there is a whole world of political and social historical paraphernalia out there! I think we were in Washington DC when he found his first vintage political campaign pin.  It was a purple volunteer ribbon for the Nixon campaign.  Since then he's been more than willing to venture into over-cluttered, musty smelling, time capsules called antique stores.

I digress...

Before we had kids we'd wander into antique stores and follow our noses.  One trip I discovered two vintage mid-century peacock wall hangings.  I. Loved. Them.  He however, did not.  He rolled his eyes when I pointed them out to him.  But, since we were moving soon for graduate school, and I was having a baby in a few weeks, we (well, really he) figured maybe we should save the money for something more important, like, say, diapers.

For three months I pined over these two wall hangings. 

Finally, after having a new baby, visiting family out of state, packing our stuff and putting it in storage, I talked The Hubby into going back to that antique store to see if those two ah-mazing peacocks were still there. 

They weren't.

Someone else had seen the glory of these two mid-century beauties.  I should have gotten them when I first saw them.

Since then, I see peacock stuff EVERYWHERE.  I never noticed it before.

While in Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago, I discovered these little darlings....

And, I purchased them. 

The Hubby didn't even roll his eyes this time.  He just laughed.  He knew.  He even said "they're cute" which basically means he's totally indifferent to them and really has no opinion other than to make me happy.

I'm not gonna lie, every time I walk into an antique store, a little part of me hopes those peacocks are hanging somewhere, just waiting for me to take them home. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11, 2001 - I Will Never Forget

This is a re-post of my September 11 experience.
(original post)

This week I've found myself spending brief moments reflecting on the unfolding events of September 11. Thoughts that leave me as overcome with emotion as they have every year for the past 10 years. You see, my ordinary life almost wasn't.

My trip to New York started out like most other adventures I took at that time in my life. I was 25, single, and had enough disposable income that when someone suggested a trip, I didn't hesitate. A friend of mine was accompanying some of her family members to the City and I decided to join them at the last minute.

We had a fabulous trip. We saw show after show after show. We ate great food; acted like goofy tourists; visited and took pictures at every landmark; even posed with a sleeping man on the subway; you name it, this family made EVERYTHING fun.

After nearly a week, enjoying everything New York had to offer, we were scheduled to fly home Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

Because our flight wasn't leaving until that evening, our plans were to take all nine of us on a double-decker bus tour through the city - heaven help the rest of the tourists on that bus!

Late Saturday night, I'd heard the news that Suzie, the matriarch of the group, had changed our reservation. She felt strongly about switching this bus tour from Tuesday morning to Sunday morning.

This small prompting made my quiet, ordinary life possible.

You see, at 7:00 am Sunday, September 9, 2001 we were on a big red bus, playing every bit the part of lighthearted tourists enjoying the sights and sounds of the City.

By 8:15 am we were walking up to this building:

I was awe struck by it's height, and snapped this photo just as we entered the building.

By 8:40 that morning, we were up in the observation deck viewing the curvature of the earth.

And looking at a tiny Statue of Liberty (it's in the lower right of the photograph).

After our visit to the World Trade Center - Twin Towers, we hopped on a ferry and headed to Liberty Island to visit the Statue of Liberty.

The Manhattan skyline was magnificent from Liberty Island.

We finished out tour of the City, in good spirits - none the wiser that the choice we made was so significant.

Monday, September 10, 2001 my friend and I caught an early train to visit my sister living in Queens, NY. The 45 minute train ride was uneventful and, in hindsight, the last possible opportunity I'd have to get off the island of Manhattan for the next week.


Tuesday, September 11, 2001

I woke up in my hotel room at the Marriott Marquis in the middle of Times Square. I was sharing a room with my friend and two of her sisters. We weren't in any rush to get packed, and before I even got out of bed, we got a call from someone in our group in the adjacent room telling us to turn on the news. A plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center.

Watching the news footage replay the first plane plow right into the building, all I could think was "how could that pilot have POSSIBLY missed seeing that building?!" The Twin Towers extended so far above every other building it seemed hard to fathom it was an accident.

Still bewildered, watching the live footage, a chilling image shot across the screen and slammed right into the second Tower. My heart sank. There was no way this was a random accident. I sat up in bed and thought to myself, "If I need to evacuate, I need to get my stuff together and be ready." I jumped in the shower, dressed and very methodically started packing my bags.

It's funny, you never really know how you will react in a crisis. As a child my dad would take us on survival camping trips in the wilderness. We learned things like - pack only what you need, I.D., cash, etc.; layer your clothing, you can use your jacket as a pillow, blanket, etc.; most of all, don't panic.

So, I did just that. I packed a small bag of essentials in case we needed to evacuate and I couldn't take anything with me. I packed a bigger bag with other items that would be nice to have (assuming I could take it with me), and finally my large suitcase was filled with souvenirs and non-essential items.

At some point my friend grabbed me by my shoulders, shook me and asked, "why aren't you freaking out? Why are you so calm?!" To the contrary, I was scared. I was worried. I didn't know what was happening, and suddenly I realized I was stuck in a city unfamiliar to me and I was a long way from home.

There was a lot of confusion about what had just happened. The news hadn't confirmed a terrorist attack, so a couple of us headed down to the street to see what was happening. People were standing in Times Square watching the news coverage, talking to each other trying to figure out what was going on.

We headed South on Broadway in the direction of the Trade Towers. Our hotel was about 3.5 miles from Ground Zero. At first things didn't seem too out of the ordinary, most likely because Times Square is filled with so many tourists. As we got closer to Ground Zero, things started to change a bit. All the foot Traffic was only moving in one direction. The opposite of ours. In the days prior, the roads appeared to be in a perpetual traffic jam, and there was an abundance of yellow taxi's. This morning, the roads were quite empty, and there wasn't a taxi to be found (I'm not sure I saw one again for about 3-4 more days).

As we got closer we noticed a HUGE plume of smoke appear above the buildings ahead of us. We, of course had no idea what was happening. It was the first tower falling.

By the time we reached Duane Street (about 1/2 mile from Ground Zero) this is what we saw:

The ash started settling and accumulating on everything. It was falling like snow flurries. Reams of loose paper twisted and tumbled as the breeze blew them through the streets.

At this point, I decided to turn back. The streets were vacant, the stench in the air was horrendous, and I really didn't "need" to go any closer to see what was happening. A few blocks back city buses were picking people up and dropping them off in Midtown around 52nd Street. Then they'd circle around and pick up another load of passengers and repeat the process of moving people out of the Downtown area.

I hopped on one of these buses and for the first time realized the magnitude of what had just happened. Looking around, the bus was filled with businessmen and women. Some were quiet, crying, and covered in ash. Others were frantically dialing friends and family to see if they were "ok" or if they'd "made it out." One man broke down and started to quietly sob as he couldn't get through to whomever he was dialing. In that moment, I realized I was just a tourist. This was their life. They had been attacked in their city, in their place of work, in their own backyard.

It was on this bus that I learned the first tower had fallen.

Stepping off the bus was sensory overload. The stench in the air was stifling. I had a hard time catching my breath. The air smelled as if I was caught in a huge chemical campfire. Ash was floating in the air like snow flurries. The sounds of the city had been replaced with sirens. Lots and lots of sirens. Shops were closed and people were no longer jovial. Their faces were filled with expressions of confusion, anger, anxiousness, you name it.

I made my way back to the hotel. By this time, US Marshals had taken over securing the building. There was a line to enter the hotel. They had closed all but one entrance into and out of the building. We were not allowed back in unless we had a room key, photo identification, and our names matched the list of hotel guests.

My friend's mom had the forethought to call and let the front desk know we wouldn't be checking out that day. We were lucky. So many people were without a place to stay. The Island was blocked off. No one was allowed to leave and no one was allowed on the Island.

Back in my room, I was glued to the news coverage. By this time both towers had fallen, and it was confirmed as a terrorist attack. Everyone was on edge. The hotel emptied the parking garage for fear of a car bomb. Precautions were being taken all over the City for the same reason.

Planes were grounded. We had no idea when we were going home.

That night, US Marshals knocked on our hotel door, checked out our room, names, and identification. We gladly obliged.

At some point that afternoon my friend pulled a receipt from her purchase at "The Top of the World" in the gift shop at the World Trade Center. There was a time stamp.

9:01 a.m.

Had we taken our bus tour on Tuesday like we'd originally planned, we would have been in the observation deck at the time of the attack on the Twin Towers.

We were instantly humbled and grateful to be alive.

The next morning, Wednesday, September 12, 2001 we were still in shock from the horror of the previous day. We ventured out to the street. Everything was closed. Not a moving vehicle to be seen. It was a ghost town. Pigeons were j-walking.

Make-shift signs had gone up all over the city. These were hanging in Times Square. They read "Pray for Family and Victims" "God Bless America" "Freedom Will Be Defended."

By that evening food places started opening up again, and people took to the streets. A number of people staked out street corners calling everyone to repentance and preaching the impending apocalypse. I think most of us just wanted to feel some sort of connection to humanity. We'd been attacked, locked down in our hotels, and isolated.

As a testament to New York, there wasn't any looting. No violence. People were courteous and considerate of others. By nightfall Times Square was as sea of little American flags. I wish I had taken a picture. The scene will forever be burned in my memory.

We were a country in mourning. Yet, united we stood. Regardless how you feel about George W. Bush, his remarks that day were what we needed and longed to hear. He remained calm and resolved. Like a father ready to stand and defend his American family.

The rest of the week was filled with unknowns. When would we be able to go home? How are we going to get there? We'd looked into Amtrak or renting a car, moving van, anything to get us closer to our loved ones, but nothing was available.

Finally, word came that a few Domestic flights would be allowed to leave JFK.

Late Saturday (early Sunday morning) we were "wheels up" on one of the first flights out of New York. It was quite possibly the most frightening flight I've ever taken. Everyone was on edge.

Through the entire ordeal, I felt a calming inner peace. It wasn't until I got home and fell into my bed did I finally break down. My life had been spared. It was divine intervention that I, along with my travel companions, were not in those Towers that morning.

As my life has unfolded these past 10 years, I've often thought about the things that never would have been. I met and married the love of my life. I have two (almost three) beautiful babies. I've lived in a number of different states and cities. I've traveled. I've worked.

I've lived.

I'm so grateful for the "tender mercies" of the Lord. I'm grateful for my ordinary life. I'm grateful Suzie was in tune with, and acted upon her "prompting" to change our plans. The saying "what a difference a day makes" was never more true.

I will NEVER forget.

God Bless America!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Swiss Days and Scones


I grew up nestled beneath the majesty of Mount Timpanogos in the Wasatch Mountains. My father, grew up on the other side of that same mountain in a little farming town called Midway.  As a little girl we would spend weekends taking the 30 minute drive up the canyon to visit family and friends.  My dad would tell stories of the canyon, small towns, and the Legend of Timpanogos to help pass the "loooong" drive through the beautiful waterfall filled canyon. 

Every Labor Day Weekend, however, we'd make the trip for something special - Midway Swiss Days.

My maiden name is "Probst" - an unmistakable Swiss name.  The Probst's along with a handful of other Swiss families settled in the Heber Valley more than 125 years ago.  Swiss Days is a way to pay homage to their Swiss heritage.

I have such fond memories of Swiss Days.  The yodelers in Lederhosen.  The sound of the Alphorn in the parade. And, spending hours in the tennis courts filled with kids games and prizes.

However, the one thing that stands out the most to me are the Swiss Bratzeli's and Scones. It's worth making the trip, searching for a parking spot, and fighting the crowds for these two items ALONE!

Since I couldn't be in Midway for Swiss Days this year, I figured I'd make up a batch of Utah Scones to celebrate here in Texas.

Utah Scones/Swiss Taco
  • First start with your favorite basic bread recipe (here's one to get you started). 
  • Roll out dough, cut or shape and fry in vegetable oil until golden on both sides.
  • Serve with honey-butter and cinnamon/sugar.  So good!

In addition to the food and entertainment, the town square is filled to the brim with booths loaded with charming merchandise. I haven't been to Swiss Days for a couple of years now, but I thought I'd include a few pictures of some of the booths and merchandise from my last visit.

This is my cute dad standing by the white gazebo in the middle of town square. The bulk of the entertainment is performed in this little gazebo.  It was originally built on wheels for my grandfather's band - The Midway Swiss Band - and for years they would play as the gazebo was pulled in the Swiss Days Parade.

There is never a shortage of beautifully handcrafted items.  This booth was selling tutu's wrapped like cotton candy.

Maybe, hopefully, next year we will make it home for a visit. It's been so hot in Texas. I'm so longing for a reprieve from the heat and humidity. I'll admit I'm homesick for that cool breeze blowing out of the canyon, the soft green grass between my toes, and a chance to see a few fall leaves signaling autumn is at the doorstep. I can't wait to get a hot scone and share some memories with family while we enjoy a little of our Swiss heritage amongst the madness of the crowds and crafts.

If you ever find yourself in Utah over Labor Day weekend - head to Swiss Days, you'll love it.