Jackatessa's Blog

This is a collection of recipes, canning projects, crochet, crafts, cakes, and anything else I find interesting!

Mermaid Tail Blanket

“Once upon a time, in a far away place named Kansas, a (very pretty, if I do say so myself) auntie decided to make her munchkin niece and nephews some fun Christmas presents out of crochet.  She searched high and low all over the internet until she came across this fun blanket idea.  She knew that it would be the absolute perfect gift for her pretty little niece, so she set out to find the perfect yarn and got to work…”



No, but for real, as soon as I saw these mermaid blankets spring up all over the internet, I knew that my niece would just love one.  That was the start of the idea to make the three of them their very own cocoon blankets.  After reading all about the patterns, everyone was saying how expensive the yarn would be (around $40), but I was lucky enough to be given some yarn after my Great Aunt Fern passed away earlier this year.  I remembered seeing this yarn in the boxes and thought it would be the perfect palette for a mermaid tail!!


It was called Red Heart Jewel, and I used a variegated yarn with purple, turquoise, and pink in it, a matching purple, and the matching turquoise.  Since it was not bulky weight yarn like they suggested, I just used 3 strands of the regular worsted weight.  It worked like a charm! All together, it took me 7 skeins per tail….if I were to buy Red Heart at Walmart @ $2.97 each, that means I would only pay about $25 in yarn.  Much better than the $40 for the bulky yarn, in my opinion.  I know some people don’t care for Red Heart because it isn’t the softest, but I’ve found that after a few washes it is just fine.


Since I was coming out of the end of my craft show season,  I had been working on every other order/project under the sun but these Christmas gifts.  It was really starting to get to me and I was afraid that I wasn’t going to get them all done!  The great thing about it was that this worked up SO QUICK.  Like, I was completely done in less than 4 hours.  The biggest complaint/not really a complaint/first world problems is that my arms got soooo tired from having to lift and switch it over and work the giant hook.  Sad, I know.  But in my defense, I had been crocheting nonstop for a month straight.


The yarn looked so pretty in these colors, and it almost had a shimmery look to it (as you can see below).  Not really sparkles, but it didn’t look like regular yarn either.  Either way, it was a perfect mermaid tail, and I knew she would love the way it turned out.



One thing about it though, is that the blanket is a pretty thick one with using so much yarn (or using a bulky yarn), so it is HEAVY.  If that turns you off of making this, I wonder if you could increase a size and just use two strands?  Or just use two strands and keep the same size?  Hmmmm……if you have done either let me know.


**Tip for the tail– after I had it completely crocheted and was getting ready to sew it on, I took the end that I was attaching and used my needle and put a string through the entire piece, leaving a longish tail on the one end (but don’t tie it off.  Then I just tightened the tail on the string until it was the same size as the end of the tail, then I just attached it by sewing it on.  That way it was the perfect ruched look and was nice and even!


They were so fast that I finished them all three in two days, so I had time to whip up another one!  Good thing there was a lot of yarn in that box!


I used the same base colors and just changed the color of the tail/border to the turquoise.


I used MJ’s Off The Hook Designs Bulky and Quick Mermaid Blanket.  It is SO WORTH IT to pay for this pattern!  I have seen quite a few from free patterns online, but I don’t think they look as professional as these do.  It is not confusing at all, and there are photos that you can use.


I love that it makes a cocoon for their feet and it’s not just a blanket that lays over them.  They can actually get IN the blanket.


She loved it by the way :-).


Any ideas on what we are going to talk about next??



If you are not into making your own, but would like a mermaid tail of your own and would like to order one from me, feel free to comment or shoot me an email at brainiac512@yahoo.com   .

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Crochet Boot Cuffs


When I was searching for new patterns and ideas for my fall shows, I kept coming across different boot cuff patterns on Pinterest.  I saved quite a few different patterns, but this is the one that I eventually settled on.

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I whipped up a few for my first show, and sold 3 out of the 5!  I was pretty happy with that!  I’ve had multiple orders since then and have sold quite a few, so I am very pleased with this pattern.   The good news is that is works up really quickly, and you can do any kind of color combo that you want.  I have done team colors, solid colors, and then some with white tops (it makes me think of lace).


They are so cute sticking out of the top of a pair of tall boots!  I even made a pair of extra wide calf— I just did the base crochet of 44 to fit mine.  I plan to offer them next year in my booth, too.


Photo from the designer’s site– NOT my photo!

I used all acrylic yarn, mostly Red Heart.  I like the bulk, the cost, and the color selection of Red Heart for this, but feel free to make it out of whatever yarn you’d like!

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The way that I displayed them was to just print out a little tag with boot cuff typed out and with a picture in Word.  I put the price and the pattern designer’s name on the back. Then a quick little hole punch and some extra yarn or twine tied through both pieces and you are good to go!

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Let me know if you make some!


Pattern HERE.

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Jello Popcorn 

Jello popcorn…sounds weird, right?  Of course weird is what piques my interest whenever I am searching for new stuff to make, so this was right up my alley.  A year or two ago I found the link on Pinterest for a Monster Popcorn when I was looking for fun stuff to make for a carnival concession stand.  It looked simple enough….jello, popcorn, corn syrup, butter, and sugar.  I could handle that!

The first year that I made it for the carnival, I packaged it up in little snack size ziplocks and wrote the flavor on the outside of it.  They were a HUGE hit and I sold them all!  I have been asked to do them every year since.  My favorite flavors to make are raspberry, lime, orange, and strawberry, but you can use anything.  You can also make them all separately and then mix them all back up together for a fruit punch flavor.   Here’s how I did it.


First I popped my popcorn.  I used my new popcorn machine that Nate got me for my birthday!  It is pretty much the coolest thing ever and we frequently enjoy popcorn in the evenings.  I think I did about 2-3 batches of popcorn, following the directions on the package.

Get your flavors ready to go….

Melt your butter, sugar, and corn syrup together.

Dump your jello mix in and stir stir stir!

Then you just dump your popcorn into a bowl and dump the mix over it and stir to coat. Be sure to use a large bowl!  I have found that this way is much easier than trying to pour it over popcorn laying on a flat surface.

You’ll need to work quickly so that your jello doesn’t set up.

Then just dump it out onto a baking sheet to cool.  I do not line mine with parchment paper or foil, as I found that it just sticks to it and then I have to pick foil pieces out of it.  That’s no bueno.

Another trick is to frequently stir it around as it cools.  If you just dump it and leave it, then it will just leave all of the excess on the bottom of the pan and it will be wasted.  If you keep stirring it, it will recoat the popcorn and cover it completely.  AND it will keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

It will also make it easy to break apart when it is nice and cool!   Basically what I’m saying is that this is an important step and you should definitely be sure to do it :-).

Then all that is left to do is to break it apart and bag it up!  It is a perfect, sweet treat that people will love, especially the kids!



Recipe HERE!

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Happy New Year!!



Wishing you a Happy New Year!  I’m planning to add some projects I have been working on the past few months.  I have been insanely busy between starting school full time, working on prepping for craft shows, and getting orders completed.  But all of that work means that I have plenty to show you!  Get ready….it’s going to be good!



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Blackberry Pie


Oh man, this pie.  It was something else.  This pie was fricken delicious.

I made this pie for Father’s Day, for my dad.  He LOVEESSSSS blackberries, and especially blackberry pie.  Now, I’ve tried to make blackberry pie for him before, but I used frozen berries.  I (apparently) didn’t thaw the berries all of the way, so the bottom of the pie was, let’s just go with….soggy.  Don’t get me wrong, he still ate it, but bless him, it was NOT my finest moment.  I went at this pie looking for redemption for that other sorry excuse for a pie.  THIS one would be good, dang it!

It just so happened that I came into quite a bit of blackberries right before our father’s day dinner, by way of a kind, little offbeat guy, that sold them to me for $5 for a butter tub full.  Now, that’s a lot of berries!  And for $5?!  You bet!  I bought $20 worth and stuck some in my freezer for jelly (which I hope to share next), and then kept two tubs out to make some pie.

When searching for the right recipe, I went to Pinterest (obvs).  I searched for Blackberry Pie- blog.  Because I always want to be able to read more about it, if it has quirks, how it turned out, etc.  I read a few different ones, but when I came upon one that basically said she was a grandma that had been making this pie forever, I knew that I had found a winner!  And with just 4 ingredients, it was getting even more promising.  Yep, I’d found my recipe!

Now, since our family dinners consist of at least 15 people, but more like 20 if everyone comes, I knew that I could not just make one little 8″ pie.  I needed a big ‘un.  So I figured that I could just double the recipe and fill a 9″x13″ pan.  And it worked!  This would actually be a perfect dessert to a potluck, too.  It will serve quite a few.

I decided to go the pre made route and buy my crust– I used this entire package.  I let it thaw a bit, threw some flour on my counter and rolled the crust to around the size of the pan, but with just a little bit extra.  I sprayed my pan and put the bottom crust in, and pushed it up the sides.  I wanted to give it more stability when it was cut, but I wasn’t too worried about it being completely covered on the sides.

Pretty, huh?  NOT.  Then I just took a few minutes to put the filling together.  I don’t think it could have been any easier, seriously.  Like I said, I doubled the filling- so I used both tubs of blackberries, thawed, and added the flour and sugar.  I did heaping measurements of the sugar, since my berries were kind of tart.


Then it was just as simple as dumping it all into the pan and rolling out the other crust.    

I’m not even gonna lie, I totally ate a few of those flour/sugar covered berries.  Still delicious.


I rolled it out just a little larger again, and then rolled and pinched it to form a nice crust.   I knew I wanted to add sugar to the top, because I LOVE pie with sugar on the crust!  It’s how the church ladies make their blackberry pie at the fair, which is totally my favorite pie, and by golly I was going to have it on mine, too. So I took a stick of butter and rubbed it all over the top crust, to give the sugar something to stick to.  

Then sprinkled that puppy with a liberal coating of sugar!  The whole time I was doing it, I was thinking – Diabetes!  Diabetes for everyone!

After it came out of the oven, I thought it was the prettiest, most delicious looking pie I’d ever seen.

I let it cool on the counter for a bit, then put it in the fridge to really set up.  She recommends at least 3 hours, and I was doing this the day of the party, so I wanted to speed it up a bit.  Worked like a charm!


I 100% recommend  Syrup and Biscuits recipe.  Super simple and delicious!  Win win in my book!!

(Oh, and my dad LOVED the pie and took all of the leftovers home.)


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Cupcake Dishcloths


I thought I would share the pattern for these adorable cupcake washcloths today!  I have seen THIS pattern on pinterest for a year or so and thought, ‘Man those would be cute!  I should definitely make a few of those!’  But alas, I never did.  A few months ago I was having the ‘let’s crochet something new’ itch and searched my Pinterest Pattern board for a new idea and came across the pin again.  After a quick search through my yarn stash, I whipped out the top cupcake within an hour.  Now, I didn’t follow the pattern all of the way through (I mean, really, is anyone surprised there?), I made up my own version of the bottom, and I did not add a little loop de loop at the top.

I found the bottom part of the cupcake to be more work than I wanted to do at the moment, so I improvised with a super simple DC for 5 rows, doing a DC decrease for the last two rows.  It worked up really quickly and still looks super cute!  You could even extend it a few more rows, but I liked the look of the shorter ‘cup’.


11419764_10153004938616314_273596662_nI have added them to my farmers market booth this summer and have sold a few on facebook.  I even did a cupcake potholder by making two of them (the back one without the ruffle or cherry) and SC’ing around, switching the color out to match.  Everyone loves them!11392940_10152996817891314_3222537967128832993_n  I have done the washcloths in cotton yarn and also in acrylic.  The potholders I stick with cotton yarn.

Overall, I was really pleased with the pattern and plan to keep these in my stock!

You can find the pattern HERE.

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Quick and Easy Apple Crisp

  Have you ever found yourself needing a dessert or SOMETHING to take to a family function or potluck?  You don’t have a lot of time, you aren’t that great of a cook, or you don’t want to have to go buy a bajillion ingredients at the store.  Quick and easy is where it’s at, my friends.

I have found myself in the above situation a few times in the past month, and this was my go to recipe.  I thought I would share for all of you who might be in the same boat.  Or, you know, for those of you that like apple crisp recipes :-).  The base of this cobbler could not be simpler.  Yes, I am talking about canned apple pie filling.  For this big 9 x 13 casserole, I used 4 cans.  You can always use this with homemade apples, but then it’s not quite as quick and easy, is it?  I’d say that’s a whole other post for another time.   The topping for the crisp is all of three ingredients.  Yes, three.  Oats, brown sugar, and butter.  Things that most of us keep in the pantry all of the time, right?  After it bakes for about 45 minutes, the oats have absorbed some of the sugar/butter goodness and become crisp. (Get it?  Because it’s an apple crisp?  No? Ok, nevermind then.)

One of the great things about this recipe is that the apple pie filling can be subbed in with any other kind you want– peach, blueberry, strawberry, cherry, etc.  It is sure to be a crowd pleaser at whatever function you decide to serve it !

Apple Crisp

4 cans apple pie filling

1 1/2 cup quick cook oats

1 cup brown sugar

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 casserole dish.  Open cans of apple pie filling and spread along the bottom of the dish.  In a separate bowl, melt butter in microwave.  Add oats and brown sugar.  Stir until fully incorporated.  Spread over the apple pie filling evenly.  Bake for 45 minutes or until oats are crisp and cooked through.

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Camo and Pink Baby Set

Gah!  Why does crochet baby stuff have to be so darn cute?!  That is actually the reason that I started to crochet again 6 years ago…my sister was pregnant with my niece and I wanted to make her hats and other adorable things I found on the internet.  So I dusted off my crochet hooks and haven’t stopped crocheting since!  My mom taught me years and years ago, when I was a teenager, but I could basically make a chain, and a lopsided blanket lol.  I’d say my skills have definitely improved!  Thanks, Ma!   It has opened up a lot of different doors creativity wise, and provided for me when I needed it to.  It’s a life skill, I tell ya, and a very valuable one for me.

So anyway, back to adorable baby stuff.  I had a custom order for this cute little baby set last week.  I have made one set before, for a friend’s baby shower, and she recommended me when someone was looking for a set.  She was having a little boy, so the set that I made her was camo and turquoise, with little booties. This one was pretty similar, with different shoes and a different accent color. I think it turned out pretty cute!

Basically I just went on to Pinterest and searched for a baby hat, a diaper cover, and baby sandals.  I used the tutorials, the sandals one was more of a guideline, and here you go!  I will link the tutorials I used :-).


The set is a 0-3 month size, and I used Red Heart yarn in camo and a neon pink.  I got the buttons at Walmart on clearance for $1.44 for the two pack.

This is the HAT pattern that I used.

This is the FLOWER pattern that I used.  To be honest, I couldn’t figure out how to do the double layered flower, and I just really wasn’t in the mood to figure it out.  So basically I did the single flower in an H hook, then I made a second single flower in an E hook, so that it was smaller and fit inside it.  I had it done in no time!


This DIAPER COVER pattern was really easy to follow.  It worked up extremely quick and said that it will fit up to 9 months!


This is the pattern for the SANDALS that I used.  These were the first sandals that I had ever made, and I think they turned out pretty cute!  I didn’t use this entire pattern– I basically did the base, then the little back strap.  But after I attached it on the opposite side, I just wanted a simple sandal, so I chained 9, then attached it with a SC to the middle where the ‘thong’ should go, then chained another 9 and attached it to the other side.  Does that made sense?  I hope so….

Overall, I think it was a super cute little set, and I have sold a few more of them since I posted it!  I have asked her to send me pictures of her little one in them, and if she does I will be sure to share!


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Crochet Shamrock Dishcloth/Potholder

To continue with my theme of holiday dishcloths, like my Crocheted Hearts HERE, next up is a shamrock dishcloth!!


After I posted my heart washcloths, I had someone ask me if I was planning to do some shamrocks for St. Patricks Day.  At the time I hadn’t really thought about it, but I found a fun pattern on Ravelry, which took me to a pattern HERE.  I tucked it away to bring out when the time was right.

That time was this past weekend, and I think I am practically a pro at these now.  I made one while I was just hanging out, watching tv, and posted it on facebook.  I had quite a few orders, so I spent the weekend crocheting.


Which really, sounds like a pretty good weekend to me!


The pattern works up really quickly– it’s easy to get the hang of it, since it repeats itself three times for every row.  I will say, I think I skipped a stitch every now and then and would be ‘off’.  When I did that, I would just count from the tip of the shamrock, where the ‘dip’ was, and count back from there to see where I needed to put the first SC.  Then other times it would be completely right.  Totally my error there.   But luckily an easy to fix one!  :-)  The other thing I noticed?  The leaves really curl in on each other, almost like there were too many stitches in the center.  So every round I would lay it out and stretch it, and it helped a lot!

I did not do any potholders this time, but you basically just make a second one and attach it.  Easy peasy!

The photos above were all using peaches and cream cotton yarn from Walmart, but I made a few using some acrylic yarn, too (shown below).  To get it the same size as the cotton yarn, just use an F hook instead of a G.


Overall, this was a really good pattern that I highly recommend!  Next up?  Easter themes!!  Any suggestions?  I’m thinking Easter eggs…..

Pattern HERE.

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Chunky Scarf Pattern using Double Crochet- the Short Version!!



It’s totally an addiction at this point.


I made this one over the weekend.  I needed a quick gift for someone, and I thought with the lovely cold weather we have all been having, a scarf would work nicely.  I used the same pattern as THIS post— the Chunky Scarf using a Double Crochet, the only thing I did differently was to stop it at 40″.  I wanted this scarf to just go over your neck once, and to not loop around.


I found that this makes it a really nice length– not too short, where it looks awkward, but not so long that it gets to be too much.  To put it simply, it’s lovely.  And the best part?  It works up really quickly!!

I used two skeins of regular Red Heart yarn, in Cocoa.  It is a nice, chunky yarn, that may not be the softest, but it sure is warm!


Funny story,  I asked Nate to take some photos of me in the scarf, and let’s just say….the coloring was a liiittle bit off because of all of the snow.  So I made him put the scarf on so that I could try.  This is the face I got.


Ha!  Sorry babe, but I just had to share this gem.  Also, I’m pretty sure you were messing with me, because the color looks fine on this.

Anyway, thank you to my lovely little sister for being my impromptu model!  I stopped by her work on my lunch hour, met her outside, and snapped a few photos.  Then went home and packaged this up and shipped it off to it’s new owner!  Fun times!

Andddd I have had someone else place an order for one, so I just finished a hot pink one today. I almost wish it would stay cold for awhile longer **ducks**, so I can continue making scarves!  Yeah, I know, but seriously, nobody wants a scarf in 100 degree Kansas heat lol!

I will be posting this is my Etsy shop soon, if you’d like one visit HERE.

Pattern HERE.

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