Jackatessa's Blog

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

Flower Power Dishcloth




Flower power dishcloths!  Because who doesn’t want to add a little bit o’ pretty to their dishwashing routine?!  I found this pattern on Ravelry a year or two ago and have made quite a few to sell.  They work up extremely quickly, aren’t too big,  and can use both cotton or acrylic yarn, so they are a nice, easy sell for me.

** I have talked about it before, but I personally prefer acrylic yarn for my washcloths over cotton yarn.  It dries faster, seems scratchier, and it isn’t as ‘heavy’ as cotton is.  You can throw it in the washing machine just like a regular washcloth. But if you prefer cotton, use it!  You do you, boo!  Ok, PSA over.  Carry on.  **

I wish that I had more photos of the flowers that I have finished, but I can’t seem to find them.  I love the one that I made below.  I used some older acrylic yarn that my mom and I found in my Great Aunt Fern’s stash of yarn after she passed.  I just loved the colors!  It makes me happy to look at it.


One of the nice things about this pattern is that it uses very simple stitches, so even beginners should be able to work some of these up pretty easily.  I will say that you need to be sure that you are counting your stitches, since there are a certain number of petals and it will be completely obvious if you miss a stitch (<—–ask me how many times I had to learn that the hard way!).

This would be a fun gift idea to give to a graduating senior headed off to college (it would make dishes WAY more fun lol), as a wedding present, or even as a Mother’s Day present!  You can make a few in their favorite colors or that coordinate with their kitchen.  You could also make it a set with coordinating potholders, or even double this pattern and attach the two together to make a flower potholder.  Actually, that’s a really good idea and I think I’ll definitely be making some as potholders for my farmer’s market booth this summer.



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Finding Nemo Clownfish Cocoon Blanket

This is the third and final installment in my cocoon blanket posts!  Hopefully you have seen the Mermaid Tail Blanket and the Shark Blanket that I also did.  If not, go check them out!  Seriously, I’ll wait……


Ok good.  SO.  This blanket.  I needed to find something that I could do that would go along with those other two, but that would be different.  My little nephew, Kannon, doesn’t like scary stuff, so I didn’t want to make him the shark blanket.  I had also seen a pattern for a dragon, but again, scary.  Then I came across THIS pattern….NEMO!!  It was perfect!!  Not scary at all, he knew what it would be, and it would be pretty simple to make.


I used Red Heart yarn and followed the pattern alllmost exactly.  The only thing that I had trouble with was getting the ‘little’ fin to work. I decided that it wasn’t worth the hassle of trying to figure it out, so I just made two regular fins, but sewed one on a little tighter, covering fewer rows, so that it was different.  You can just throw it into the washing machine as it get dirty and it will just get softer and softer every time you wash it.


The pattern said that it was for ages 2-4, and he turned 3 in January, so it was the perfect size.  I do think that it would be extremely easy to increase the width and make larger sizes.  The best part?  He LOVED it!!  It’s his ‘fishy blanket’ and he apparently uses it all of the time.


I am so glad that I made these little cuties their own blankets for Christmas instead of giving them (more) toys.  Now they have something that they will use all of the time and can keep for a few years as they grow into them!  I mean, I might be a little biased, but I give them a 10/10.  🙂


Shark Cocoon Blanket


This is a very long overdue post to go along with the Mermaid Tail Blanket that I posted right before this one.  I made this for my cute little nephew, Kolton Lee, as a Christmas present.  I made his sister the Mermaid Tail and I wanted to find a boy version.   While I think that boys can absolutely have a mermaid tail, which is what he would have gotten if I hadn’t found this, I am so glad that I came across this pattern.

The thing about these cocoons is that yes, they are FAST to work up, but they do take a lot of yarn.  Personally I would rather use more yarn and finish my project quicker though!  I lucked out and had this pattern picked out in time for me to hit the Black Friday sale at Walmart, so I found the yarn that I needed for only $2 a skein instead of it’s usual $4.  I believe that I ended up using 11 skeins total. It was Lion’s Brand, the super chunky stuff. I think that if I were to make this again (and oh, I totally will be), that I would try it with three strands of Red Heart worsted weight yarn.  While the Lion’s Brand is incredibly soft, it also made it HEAVY!  My arms were getting tired turning the blanket over and over and over!  That is another reason that I will use worsted weight next time.   I found the buttons that I used for the eyes at Walmart for $1 or $2 a piece.  I also used two strands of regular worsted weight, Red Heart yarn for the teeth and gums.  Easy peasy!


The pattern that I used was one that I would highly recommend– MJ’s Bulky & Quick Shark Blanket.  I know that some people balk at the idea of paying for patterns, but I really think that you can tell a difference in the end product in a pattern that you have paid for and one that you can get for free.  Not always!  But sometimes, I think it is 100% worth it to pay the little bit for the pattern to get a more professional look.

As far as the pattern itself, I followed it exactly.  it worked up extremely quick, within 4 or 5 hours from start to finish.  The only thing that I would change if I were to do it again would be to change the placement of the fin :-).  While Kolton didn’t think anything of it, the adults all had a little snicker at it. Also, you might notice that his feet looked pretty squished in there.  That’s because this little guy likes to wear his boots about 3 sizes too big!  lol.  He clunk clunk clunks around in a pair of boots that were meant for his sister, and he doesn’t care a bit!


I actually plan to work one or two of these up to take with me in my farmer’s market and craft booth this year.  I hope they sell well!

Pattern HERE.

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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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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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Giant Granny Square Baby Blanket: Pink/Purple/Green



I thought that I would share another blanket that I finished.  This was ordered by the momma of a sweet little girl named Bentley.  (I actually just made her first birthday cake!)


She wanted pink/purple/green/white, so I picked up some Caron yarn at Walmart.  I LOVE Caron yarn- it is so so soft!



Basically, I did a giant granny square blanket, changing the color every two rows.  I used an H hook.


Then I just finished it up with a sweet little ruffle border!


I am a big fan of the giant granny square pattern.  It works up really quick!  I actually made this a little larger than a regular baby blanket- it is 32″ x 32″, but I think it’s the perfect size for cuddling up with.


I just loved the vibrant colors!  They were really happy with it, which make me really happy. 🙂


Ok, I have a few more blankets that I have finished recently, so hopefully I will share those with you soon!




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Purple and White Giant Granny Square Afghan





This afghan was SUCH a fun thing to make!  It was my very first baby blanket, and my first big granny square project.  Before this, the only other granny squares I had made were a 4 square trivet and a pretty washcloth.   The best part about it?  I didn’t even need a pattern.  Once you know how to make a granny square, you can make this blanket.  It is basically just a repeating pattern–you could make this into a giant king sized blanket, and you’d do the same thing the whole way!



Don’t know how to make a granny square?  THIS is the youtube tutorial that I watched to learn.  Then you just keep the rounds going until it’s the size that you like.  This one ended up being 32″ x 32″, with about 25 rounds.  Basically you will just use a DC, chain, and slip stitch.  Easy peasy.


I used an H hook, and some Red Heart yarn for this project, which is a cheaper, not as soft yarn as any of the baby yarns available.  But once you wash it, it just gets softer and softer every time.  I bought one of the larger skeins of each color, for $5 a skein at Walmart.  I have quite a bit left, I think I MIGHT have used half of the skein.


Funny story about this pretty afghan.  I was invited to a baby shower for a friend of mine.  We work together pretty close on the fair board since she is the extension agent for our county.  Well, they decided they didn’t want to know the sex of the baby until it was born, which takes out the standard blue/pink colors to make a baby blanket in.  She told me that they were doing a Peter Pan theme for the nursery, so I thought ok, I can get some green and white yarn and make a blanket out of that!  When I was there though, they didn’t have a whole lot of selection, and the more I looked at the green and white, I just kept thinking that it seemed more ‘boy’ to me.  So I decided that since I thought I remembered them being KState fans, that a purple and white blanket would work just fine!!  I grabbed the yarn up, feeling pretty good, went home and got started that night.


Man, that blanket was so pretty while it was being worked up.  The purple was so vibrant and the white was just the perfect contrast.  I just knew that they would love it!  So I finished it up on a Sunday night, washed it, and went to my fair  board meeting the next night.


At the meeting, we got on the subject of the KState game at the end of the month, and whether or not it was a home game.  Could someone look it up on their phone?  And my friend says (I shit you not), ‘well, I don’t keep track of Kstate’s schedule, I only do Oklahoma State’s.’  HOLY. CRAP.  So I am sitting there freaking out on the inside, but trying to stay cool on the outside.  So I casually say, ‘oh, you don’t like Kstate?’, and she says, ‘well I mean, they write my paycheck (the extension office is through them), but I am an OSU fan.’

Well, that was a FAIL. ha!


So, back to the drawing board on that blanket!  But that does mean that this one is now for sale.  I will be listing it on etsy very soon.  It’s still a really pretty blanket, and we have a lot of KState fans around here, so I’m sure it won’t be long before it sells.


I am also thinking of adding a soft, minky fabric back and a scallop border.  Or even a nice flannel in a KState fabric.  What do you think?


Have you ever had a gift giving fail?  I ‘m just so glad I found out BEFORE I gave it to her.  That would have been pretty embarassing!

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Cancer Ribbon Dishcloth Pattern

So I had this friend, her name was Betty Jo.  She lived across the street from me, owned a store downtown, and I served on the fair board with her.  She was actually the first store that started carrying some of my crafts!  She was always encouraging me and raving on and on about anything I made.  She was the life of the party, no matter where she was.  Man, she was just FUN.  We got really close while serving on the fair board together, and she would talk about her daughter’s struggle with breast cancer.  She was her biggest supporter, and showed it any way that she could.  So when I found a pattern for a breast cancer dishcloth, I thought, hey, Jo would LOVE this.  I printed it out and planned to maker her a few.  Then life got in the way, the pattern got shuffled to the bottom of the stack, and I forgot about it.




Then we lost Jo this past year.  It was really unexpected.


I was cleaning out the craft room recently and came across the pattern again.  So I sat down that day and made it.  And thought of Jo the whole time.


I posted it on my facebook page and had a few people that wanted their own.  So after I made those, I had a lady call and order SIX more.  I think she is giving them away at Christmas.  I spent the entire weekend crocheting, trying to get her order done.  Thankfully these don’t take too long to work up.


Of course, I lost the pattern halfway through making them.  I think it actually flew away while I was sitting at the farmers market (oops).  But I had the pattern pretty much memorized at that point, so I jotted it down really quickly.  I thought I would share it here for anyone that wants to make them.    Whether it’s for yourself, a friend, or family member that has been affected by breast cancer, or any cancer at all.  I think I will be making up a few in different colors, to represent the different cancers.  It’s crazy how so many people are affected by such an awful disease.  How WE are personally affected by it.  Our house will have white washcloths, for Nate’s mom.


The pattern makes a pretty big washcloth, or you can use it as a trivet to sit hot dishes on.  I plan to use it for both.  If there is something that isn’t clear, please let me know.  This is my first time to write a pattern like this out.

To make it, I used an H hook, and cotton yarn.  I think you could find a really soft acrylic yarn and use this as a bath cloth.  If you aren’t into crocheting and would still like your own washcloth, I have them listed in my etsy shop – www.etsy.com/shop/brainiac512 under the Crochet section.


Crochet Breast Cancer Ribbon Dishcloth/Trivet

Chain 51.

DC in 2nd chain from hook.

DC in the next 19 stitches.

2DC in the next 3 stitches, then DC in the next 2 stitches, 2DC in the next 3 stitches.  DC in the remaining stitches on the row.  Chain 2.  Turn.

DC in the next 20 stitches.

*2DC in next stitch.  Then DC in the next stitch.*  Repeat this 7 more times.  DC to end of the row.  Chain 2, then turn.

DC in the next 23 stitches.

*2DC in next stitch, then DC in the next two stitches*.  Repeat 5 times.  2DC in the next stitch.  DC to the end of the row.  Chain 2, then turn.

DC in the next 24 stitches.

*2DC in the next stitch, DC in the next three stitches*.  Repeat this 3 times. 2DC in next stitch, then DC to the end of the row.

Position your ribbon like the photos above and pin in place.  SC around the ribbon, securing the ribbon in place.  Tie off, leaving a 10″ tail.  Use this on a yarn needle to stitch through and secure the ribbon in place better.


Project Idea: Methodist Afghan

Happy Monday everybody!  I survived the weekend, and the fair was AWESOME this year, if I do say so myself.  I think everyone was happy that there was a lot to do and a lot to eat :-)!  I didn’t enter a whole lot of items in the Open Class divisions this year, but I did a few photos and entered THIS afghan (Ainsley let me borrow it as long as I would give her my ribbon if I won lol).   I did end up getting a blue on the afghan, and I got two reds on a couple of photos I took.  One of my nephew Kolton playing in a creek, and one of my sister’s family that we took out in a field.  So I was pretty happy!

HOWEVER.  Ainsley won SIX ribbons- 4 white and 2 red- in the photography division, and all but one of them were in the ADULT division.  She is five years old!  Sheesh.  I think she even beat me in a category…..smh.  She also placed on her craft she entered (blue), her ‘eggs and bacon’ candy (red), and got honorable mention on a little beaded bracelet she made.  She won a whole $13 and could not be more excited.  Cracks me up…

Now on to the purpose of this post.  Later today we are heading to Wichita for a few days- Nate’s mom is having some pretty major, scary surgery, so we want to be there for her.  That means a lot of time in the waiting room.  So I thought now would be the perfect time to start a new project, to help keep my mind off of the situation.

I found THIS pattern last fall, but never had a chance to actually make it.  My dad is a Methodist pastor, so I thought it would be a good idea to make it and give it to him for Christmas last year.  Well, that didn’t happen, so I thought, ok, I’ll make it for his birthday (on Valentine’s Day).  That didn’t happen either.  So here’s hoping that I might get it finished (or hell, even started!) for Christmas this year!

This is what the website shows that the pattern looks like when it’s completed-


I will make it larger than the baby blanket size, but I’m not sure yet how big I will go.  My dad is 6’6″, so it will be bigger than what I would make for myself, let’s just put it that way.

I’ve never done a ‘counting’ stitch afghan like this, so I am going to watch a few youtube tutorials and see if I can’t get it figured out.  I love that it is just a simple single crochet, so that should be easy to follow.  I’m thinking though, that instead of having about 8 trillion little ends to stitch in at the end, that I should try to weave them into the stitches while crocheting the next row above them.  It worked in my dream last night.  Yes, I was dreaming about starting this blanket.  Or maybe I was dreaming about finishing it lol!  I also thought that I might start working a double crochet for the border, so that it won’t be so heavy when it’s finished.  I want him to actually use it to keep warm, but not to suffocate lol, and that would be ALOT of yarn!  He doesn’t have any idea that I am planning to do this, so I’m hoping it will be a fun surprise at Christmas.

I will share with you all when I get it finished!


Have you ever done something like this?   Any tips?

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Ainsley’s Crocheted Daisy Afghan

So a month or two ago, I shared a Project Idea post about THIS super cute afghan.  I said that I was wanting to make it and that it was absolutely adorable, but that I didn’t really know WHO to make it for.  Well my niece Ainsley’s birthday was last month, and I decided that she just had to have it for her birthday this year!  Here she is.  Let’s just say her nickname is Sassy for a reason! And yes, that would be THREE headbands.  She wanted to wear all of them at the same time.


Now, I know that a crocheted afghan is not exactly what every little five year old dreams of, but I figured that she would think the colors were pretty and maybe later on she would really treasure it.  I was fully prepared for her to be like, “Thaaaanks Aunt Teresa.  Where’s my next present?”  So I was prepared and threw some scented/glitter tattoos in the bag, too.

So I started crocheting, making all of my blocks first.  I used THIS step of the tutorial.  They worked up super fast.  I made 5 of each color, and I had 4 colors.  I used Red Heart yarn in a turquoise, bright purple, hot pink, and a lime green.  I crocheted nonstop, any spare second I had, for 4 days.  In the car, while we watched tv, while I sat outside with my stepmom while she had a garage sale….any time that I could.  I wanted to finish it as fast as I could!



I did notice that some of my yarns were thicker than the others, so I would constantly hold it up to make sure I was getting the same size squares.  Even still, my turquoise ones came out just a tad bigger.  But not much!  I think I ended up crocheting all of these twice, with how much I was ripping out and redo-ing!  But I also knew that I could fudge it a little when I did the borders that bound them all together.

So after I had all of my squares made, I used THIS tutorial to stitch them together.  I just used a bright white for that.  It wasn’t HARD, but it is a little tedious.  You have to make sure that they are all lining up and looking right.  But this was the best part, too, because it finally made it look like an afghan :-).  Then I added the border with THIS part of the tutorial.  Super easy.  Single crochet all the way, man!  I did one row of each of my colors, including the white.


I was so excited at this point that I stayed up until 1 a.m. to finish it!  I just could NOT wait to give it to her!  I was so excited that I had finally made an afghan all by myself!

But the last thing I had to get on there was the Daisy  applique.  Dun dun dun.  Turns out, I can’t make a daisy correctly to save my life!  I followed her tutorial HERE (or at least I thought I did lol!), but every single time I ended up with a different version of a flower!  One time I had 8 petals, then I had 7, never 6 like it was supposed to be!  Finally I just chose the best looking one and decided to heck with it, she would just have one flower!

I got that on there and just could not believe how pretty it was!  I made sure that I blocked it when it was done, too.  Basically that means to get it wet and lay it out flat to dry.  That helps shape it and make all of your lines straight.  Here are photos of the finished product 🙂



And a nice little side by side with the inspiration photo.

Photo from Repeat Crafter Me blog

Photo from Repeat Crafter Me blog


Love it!  I will be making more of these for sure!  And here are a few with the birthday girl.  And by the way, she loved it.  When I asked her if she wanted me to take it home for her to have at my house (thinking that might keep it nice, but she could use it when she came over), she said, ‘Well, it might be really special to me, so I’d like to take it to my house to keep it safe.  Your dogs might eat it” (which is a valid point, btw).  Success!


(Grainy iPhone photos for the win!)

Have you finished any fun projects lately?  I’d love to hear about them!  Next up will be a monkey afghan for Kolt Lee!

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