Children’s Crocheted Scarf – A Free Pattern

I have been making and selling these little crocheted scarves for a few years now. I started out with making a few for my Miss 4 when she was about 2, and then soon found we had more scarves than I knew what to do with.

A quick and simple crochet project, this is a great beginner – intermediate pattern that should take you no longer than 2 hours from start to finish.

Not a crocheter, but love the scarves? You’ll find a selection of scarves I’ve made in my Etsy store here.

**Please note that I would not recommend these scarves for children under 3 years of age unless under constant close supervision. As with anything else you place around a child’s neck (necklace, bag strap, etc) a scarf does pose a strangulation risk to small children. I would also urge you not to leave a scarf on a sleeping child as this will also place them at risk of overheating.**

Heavy stuff aside, this is a great little scarf for the 3-5 year olds in your life, and with a few alterations can be made in much larger sizes too. I’ve even made one for my Dad!

So without further ado…

A Children’s Scarf Pattern

This pattern is written in US terms. If you usually work in UK terms, please find a handy conversion chart here.

Please use pattern for personal use only, or seek permission before selling products using this pattern.

Materials:

8ply yarn. I’ve used Bendigo Woollen Mills Bloom

4.5mm crochet hook

Darning needle

Scissors

Abbreviations:

Ch: chain

DC: double crochet

St: stitch

SC: single crochet

Sl St: slip stitch

Pattern:

Ch 80.

Row 1: 1 DC into 3rd ch from hook. 1 DC in each st to end. Turn. (78sts).

Row 2-3: Ch 2. 1 DC in base of Ch 2. 1 DC in each st to end. Turn. (78 sts).

Row 4: Ch 2. 1 DC in base of Ch 2. 1 DC in each of the next 11 sts. Ch 9. Skip the next 8 sts and DC in the 9th st from the last DC. DC in each st to end. Turn. (78 sts).

Row 5 – 7: Ch 2. 1 DC in base of Ch 2. 1 DC in each st to end. Turn. (78 sts).

When you reach the 9 chains of the previous row, continue your DC into each chain as you would for the rest of the row.

At the completion of Row 7 you may like to fasten off here for a simple completed scarf, or you can add a SC border with the following step.

The last step: Ch 1. 1 sc in base of Ch 1. 1 sc in each st to end of row. DO NOT TURN. Continuing in the same direction we’re now going to work around the corner. * add an extra 1 sc in the last st and work 13 sc’s across the scarf end*. Continuing around the edge of the scarf, 2 sc in the corner and 1 sc in each st to end of row. Repeat from * to *. Sl st into first st (the beginning of round). Fasten off, weave in ends.

And you have a complete scarf!

This pattern is easy to alter to suit your preference. Add more DC’s to your rows to make it longer, more rows to make it wider, add details on the ends like tassels, or leave it as is. See a few variations I’ve made in my Etsy store.

Happy crocheting!

Abby x

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Friday again

I always have the best of intentions for a mid week post, and then in the blink of an eye it’s Friday again and I didn’t get around to it. I went so far as to write and photograph a crochet pattern to share with you last weekend, and yet it still sits handwritten in my notebook waiting to be typed. Next week? A toddler scarf pattern is on its way anyhow, maybe mid next week. Probably next Friday…

Things I HAVE achieved this week –

We’ve been helping to prepare my husbands Grandma’s house for sale and had a bit of a family working bee last weekend. We sorted through books and towels and kitchen appliances and while there was definitely not a high volume of ‘stuff’ there, it did make me think of the Swedish death cleaning trend and what a great idea that is. So if you come to my house in my retirement years and find I own only one tea towel, two coffee cups, two knives, forks, spoons etc – you’ve been warned!

I also helped out with rebuilding a rail/balustrade and painted it during our working bee. It’s probably a year or more since I last had to paint anything. Not my favourite job, but this was pretty quick and painless. Now I’m wandering about my house constantly noticing how badly my walls and ceilings need repainting and trying to muster up some energy for kicking into that boring job!

We walked away with a few bags of yarn and a trailer full of pot plants too, both of which have kept me pretty busy since!

With huge quantities of yarn to play with I’ve been crocheting in every spare second. Mittens for each kid and I started a new blanket, which I’ve been lugging about the house and to craft night in a big basket.

I also had a play with hand dyeing some plain wool with food dye during the week. I wasn’t happy with the colours, but had great fun with the process. I will have another play with some different colours this weekend.

Mid week I discovered that Miss 4 seems to have grown 2 inches over night and desperately needed some new jumpers and jackets for kindy. I ended up getting her a jacket and track pants in the boys section of Target, because I was so disappointed in the girls section options! Read more on that here.

Sticking to what I know best, I headed to Savers on Thursday and picked up a pile of clothes for both the kids and myself.

For the kids I ended up with 2 x skirts, 2 x shorts, 2 x dresses, 2 x jumpers & 5 x tops.

For myself I bought a coat, a vintage jacket and a pair of shoes.

All in great gently used condition, in brands – Witchery, Zara, Cotton On Kids, Milkshake etc.

I love Savers. We’re doing a kindness to the environment by using what already exists instead of supporting the fast fashion industry, we’re typically buying better quality brands than I could justify spending money on if purchased new, we often find really cute quirky items not found in the big box stores and we’re saving bucket loads of cash. My only regret is not getting started shopping there when my kids were babies! Oh the money I could have saved!

Aside from all that I’ve been…

Reading

True Stories by Helen Garner. This is my second Helen Garner read, and I love her style!

Listening to

The Slow Home Podcast – my absolute favourite podcast. The link here will take you to last weeks interview with Rob Greenfield about small steps we can take towards a better world. A great listen!

Planting

My celery seedlings, ground covers, poppies, pansies and transplanting all those pot plants into our garden!

What have you been making/reading/listening to lately? Do you think you’re the Swedish death cleaning sort? What great secondhand bargains have you picked up recently?

Happy weekend folks.

Abby x

Home again

In the remaining days of our Sydney trip we explored a little of South Head and the walls and ruins of the old naval base. A cold and drizzly day, I was reluctant to get out of the car, but I’m so glad we did. There’s something really enjoyable about scrambling over rocks, and placing your hands on old walls wondering what they’ve witnessed.

That night we headed out in the wind and rain again to Vivid at Taronga Zoo. Vivid is all over Sydney at the moment, and the Taronga event, featured a variety of illuminated colourful animal statues. The kids absolutely loved it, and while the bumpkin in me was a little overwhelmed by the crowds, I got a little caught up in the magic of it all too.

We saw The Book Of Mormon on Sunday night and laughed until we cried. I had heard good things about the show, but knew very little about it beyond the language warning on my ticket. It was hilarious. Very appealing to my borderline inappropriate sense of humour. I highly recommend it to any other fellow potty mouthed freethinker friends!

We ventured down to Circular Quay and the Botanic Gardens one evening to see more of Vivid. The whole city was lit up with lights on the Harbor Bridge, projections on the Opera House and buildings and statues lit up everywhere.

A few other favourite place we visited were the Queen Victoria Building and The Grounds Of Alexandria.

And then, we flew home again on Wednesday and quickly fell back into our usual routines.

I’ve been weaving in all the little ends on this Kotori Jacket, and I’m hoping to have it blocked by tonight and in my Etsy store by the end of the weekend.

I was so excited to find that our single lonely orange started ripening up while we were away. Other than the orange, not much changes in the garden in a week during winter. I noticed a flower had finally emerged, and the snow peas had reached the top of the fence, but otherwise the winter garden doesn’t move too fast.

I was amazed to see this photo in my Facebook memories this morning. Our backyard 5 years ago.

I’m always looking to the next thing that needs to be done in the garden, so it’s nice to look back and see progress has been made.

So now I’m tucked up on my couch, listening to the rain, battling with a toddler who wants to climb all over me, avoiding the bathroom that needs cleaning and a pile of dishes.

It’s good to be home.

Abby x

Sydney

It’s been a big week.

The kids and I had colds, I was solo parenting for most of the week, my uni semester winds up today and I had a final assessment to complete before we flew to Sydney on Wednesday. None of those things on their own seem like a big deal, but when you add them all up you need a lot of coffee.

So the week that was…

There’s bulbs popping up all over our yard, and I can’t for the life of me remember what they are, so I’m looking forward to when they flower.

The kids were Where’s Wally obsessed for most of the week.

Miss 4 has been carrying a container of rocks around with her all week and they’ve been arranged in all kinds of interesting ways all over the place. A little container of rocks even made it to Sydney with us!

Miss 4 packed her own suitcase for Sydney

It may not look much, but she has two different types of wand in there, so as my Mum pointed out, she should be able to conjure up anything else she may require!

We flew to Sydney on Wednesday, and though I wouldn’t say the two hour flight with a 3 and 4 year old was ‘easy’, it was definitely much easier than a couple of 16 hour flights I once did with a 1 and 2 year old!

It’s been all puppy cuddles and Sydney things since then…

There’s lots of coffee, no assignments and the adult to child ratio has gone from 1:2 to 4:2. The week ends much better than it started.

How has your week been? Have you measured your days in cups of coffee?

Wishing you all relaxing weekends.

Abby x

It’s been a while

3 years or so.

My last post on Mummy Doesn’t Bake was after completing a quilt for the baby boy I was pregnant with at the time. That little baby boy of mine is now three years old, and though he’s not that much a ‘baby’ anymore, he’s every bit the ‘boy’.

And that little baby girl I used to write about? She’s now my chatty, bubbly, FOUR year old ‘kindy girl’

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Those who’ve walked the path of young children will understand why the posts stopped. The foggy years of babies and toddlers are incredibly rewarding and ridiculously exhausting, and only now as I tentatively step out the other side of that fog, do I feel I have anything to give to a blog again.

I’ve renamed the space ‘Abby Sewell’, simply my name, because for however accurate the ‘Mummy Doesn’t Bake’ title was, three years gained wisdom has taught me that defining myself by what I was not, was not a particularly inspiring way to live.

So here we go again. The content will be a little the same, a little bit different. The baby content is out, the funny things my kids say is probably in. I’m still crafting, reading, gardening and getting on my high horse about social justice issues.

If you’re still interested please stick around. If REALLY interested find more of my oversharing on Instagram and a few of the things I make at Etsy.

For now I’ll leave you with the treasures retrieved from my pockets after the walk home from Kindy today, my ‘big kids’ being all cute with each other and the very clever weed that popped up in my front lawn, sporting pretty pink flowers, therefore guaranteeing I wouldn’t pull it out.

Weeds are sneaky. Watch them…

Abby x

 

 

A Quilt for my Little Man

After making a few quilts for friends having babies over the last few years, I was excited to get stuck into a cot quilt for my own little man recently!

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I made the quilt top out of scraps I already had, and had my first attempt at patch working blocks. I love the traditional patchwork style and I’m keen to try some more like it.

I’m pleased with the end result, and I’m now looking forward to using it as inspiration when planning the new nursery.

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24 weeks along now, so only four more months until we meet the little man and I can snuggle him up in his new quilt 🙂

Abby xx

 

Money Saving Strategies: Part 2

 

This post is a Continuation of Money Saving Strategies: Part 1. Find it here.

More money saving strategies we use:

Baby Stuff

Babies are expensive creatures!

  • I buy the cheap supermarket brand disposable nappies for use during the day, and only use the more expensive brand overnight. This would save us about $20 a month.
  • We only use wipes for number 2’s, and again I buy the supermarket brand. Number 1’s are cleaned up with tissues and sorbolene cream, not only is this much much cheaper, but much kinder on little bottoms. Those wipes have a lot of nasty chemicals in them!
  • We have one of those fancy nappy disposal bins that seals off each nappy, trapping the smells inside. It’s a brilliant contraption, but each cartridge costs at least $10!! So we only use this bin for stinky number 2’s, and have a separate bin with a bin liner in it for number 1’s. The number 1 bin doesn’t seal the smell in as well, but we just make sure we empty it more frequently.
  • When we were at the puree stage, I made all of Miss E’s purees and froze them, and used jar food only when we were out and about for ease and convenience.
  • I buy formula, nappies, wipes, baby food and anything else I can in bulk, only when they’re on special.

Clothes

  • I make do with what I already have far more often than what I used to and now try to buy pieces that I know will be worn over and over again. I try to buy lots of neutral pieces that will go together with different outfits, and buy end of season clearance stock when I can. A tip I picked up recently was to choose a signature colour (in my case blue) and build your wardrobe with pieces in shades of this colour and neutrals, that way everything will go together nicely, and you can create more outfits with less pieces.
  • For Miss E and the little man joining us soon, I’ve barely paid full price for a single item of clothing they own. Again, I buy end of season stock ahead of time. Miss E is currently wearing size 1, and so when I see a clearance rack, I’m looking ahead to pieces in size 2 and 3. For the little man I’m buying 0000’s, 000’s, 00’s, 0’s and 1’s when I see them cheap at the moment. With summer drawing to a close I bought 8 separate swimsuit items off the clearance rack for Miss E and the little man for a total $22.50, with their original price totalling $82! We’ve got enough bathers to get us through the next two summers now!
  • I repair and alter what I can instead of throwing it out. Fixing a hem or sewing a button back on takes all of 15 minutes, and doesn’t cost me a cent.

Other strategies

  • I never carry more than a couple of dollars in cash. If the money isn’t sitting there in my purse, I’m not likely to spend it on a soft drink or snack here and there. This is as good for my health as it is for my pocket!
  • I don’t browse or window shop anymore. If I don’t know it exists then I won’t want it.
  • I save up the things that I ‘want’ but don’t ‘need’ for gift suggestions when it’s my birthday, Mother’s Day or Christmas, i.e. new handbag, sunglasses, books etc.
  • If we can make it ourselves for cheaper than it can be bought, then that’s exactly what we’ll do. This goes for baby items, house renovations, pasta sauces, anything within our capabilities.
  • We’ve made a conscious effort to turn off lights in the rooms we’re not in. If there’s no one in that room, there probably doesn’t need to be a light on. We also don’t have a dryer, and dry all our clothes out in the sunshine, or inside in front of a window if it’s cold and raining.
  • We watch the fuel cycle and buy when it’s cheap, using discount vouchers when we have them. I say we, but really Matt just takes care of this and I don’t have to think about it!

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I think one of the key things to remember when you’re trying to save a few dollars is to treat yourself every now and then. Have a fancy dinner every now and then, buy that killer pair of heels, just don’t do it all the time 🙂 Life gets a little boring if you only meat from the clearance section!

Take and adapt whatever works for you, ignore what doesn’t and please share any great money saving strategies you use to get by!

Abby xx

Money saving strategies: Part 1

 

I’ve been doing this Stay at Home Mum thing for just over a year now, and I’m loving spending lots of time with my little lady. The less loveable part of being a Stay at Home Mum has been the Stay at Home Mum salary – zilch.

Going from a double income couple to a single income family was quite an adjustment to make and forced us to rethink some of the ways we spend our dollars. I’m hardly the first person to encounter this, and definitely not the first to share money saving strategies, but thought I’d share just a few ideas and changes I’ve made to help keep our costs down.

Look at your bank/credit card statement, insurance policies and service providers

I regularly sit down with our statements to see where all our money’s disappearing to, and which of these expenses could be cut out, or at least made smaller and at least once a year look at our insurance policies and service providers to see whether I could be getting a better deal. Some changes I’ve made:

  • I cancelled all of our direct debited charity donations. I felt a little guilty about this initially, but reassured myself that we’d spent years donating to these causes and have made sure that I still do one off donations here and there for my favourite charities. If you’re locked in to donating $20 a month, that’s $240 a year, and though I won’t bother with the math, I’m pretty sure thats equivalent to a lot of nappies!
  • I called our health, home and contents, and car insurance providers and tweaked each policy to make them cheaper. For our health insurance this meant adding a premium and cutting out the extras that I wasn’t using, saving hundreds of dollars. For our home and contents and car insurance I rang the insurance company and asked if they could do a better deal for us, and managed to shave a few hundred dollars off, I then increased our premiums, shaving a few more dollars off. Given that we very rarely call on using any of our insurance, we decided that if we had to make a claim, we could probably afford the premium so long as we keep a little money aside ‘for a rainy day’.
  • We looked into all of our service providers and decided that the money we were spending on phones was ridiculous. Keeping two mobile phones, a home phone, and internet going, was costing a small fortune. As a result, neither of us are on Mobile Phone plans anymore, instead we both use prepaid and don’t regularly update our phones. We’re both still going strong with our iPhone 4’s, and won’t be replacing them until they die. When they do need replacing, we’ll buy the phone outright and continue with prepaid. No phone contracts for us!

Grocery shopping / Food

  • I sit down and plan our weeks meals every Sunday night, and then write out my shopping list before I hit the shops on Monday morning. When planning my meals I’m thinking about what’s already in my fridge/freezer/pantry that I need to use up, what I can make that we’ll leave leftovers for lunch the next day (or popped in the freezer for a lazy day) and how much dinner prep time I’m going to have available to me on that day. This systems works well for me because I’m not much of a cook, and so would otherwise leave dinner decision making to the last minute and opt for takeaway or vegemite on toast. It also means nothing goes to waste, because I buy exactly the amount I need of everything, throwing little out.
  • I love a good bargain! I buy non-perishables in bulk when they’re on special (toilet paper, tooth brushes, shampoo, pasta, canned tomatoes, cleaning products, dog food, nappies, etc) but only if I know I’m actually going to use them, and I have the space to store them.
  • I try to buy most of my meat when it’s only got a few days left on it’s ‘use by’ and is reduced to clear, and when I get home I divide it up into the quantities we will use it (i.e. two pieces of steak, 4 sausages) bag them up, and put them in the freezer. When I’m planning the next weeks meals, I’ll be looking in my freezer to see what meals I can create with the meat we’ve already got.
  • I try to buy the majority of fruit and veg according to what is in season and therefore cheapest.
  • We have lots of fruit trees, and a veggie garden (sometimes in operation) so get some of our fruit and veg free (we also water our fruit trees and veggie garden from our rain water tanks, saving us more dollars!)
  • Meatless monday – One night a week we would eat a dinner with no meat. It was usually much cheaper and also gives you points for being kind to the environment!
  • We eat out less often than we used to, and usually drink water with our meals.
  • We drink less pod coffee than we used to. At one stage I calculated that I alone was drinking approximately $20 worth of pod coffee a week. I placed a ‘one pod a day’ limit on myself, and either went without, or drank instant coffee the rest of the day. Now that I’m pregnant, I’m not drinking very much anyway.

Entertainment

  • We don’t watch a lot of TV, so we’re happy with free to air. We’re against illegally downloading movies and TV shows, so we check out iview regularly when we’re looking for something different to watch, or borrow DVD’s from the local video shop or library.
  • To entertain Miss E and myself during our weekdays at home, I’ve found a number of free or very cheap activities to keep us amused. We attend a playgroup once a week that only asks for a $1 donation each time we come, we go to Preschool Storytime (link here for South Aussies) at our local library once a week which is completely free, and I’m part of a mothers group who meet once a week at either a cafe, a local park or at one of our houses. When we’re not doing these things we try to visit family and friends or head to the park, rather than going out for lunch or coffee with friends.
  • I stopped buying books, and I used to buy a LOT of books. I either borrow from the library, family and friends or when I specifically want to own a book, I wait and ask for it as a gift for birthdays/Christmas etc.

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In part 2 I’ll share some more strategies for saving money on Baby stuff, clothes and much much more.

Take and adapt whatever works for you, ignore what doesn’t and please share any great money saving strategies you use to get by!

Abby xx

 

Alexander’s Outing: A book activity

 

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I’ve got a little bookworm on my hands. Which suits me just fine!

She loves Where is the Green Sheep? (see here) and brings it to me constantly during the day to read to her. With a huge selection of Children’s books in this house, I decided it was time we explored some new titles.

So we started with Alexander’s Outing by Pamela Allen

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Alexander’s Outing is the story of a duckling called Alexander who did not pay attention when walking with his mother and the other ducklings. When crossing the road, Alexander falls down a hole in the road, and the story then follows how people try to help get Alexander out. Eventually they discover that by filling the hole with water, Alexander can float to the top and out of the hole again.

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Miss E enjoyed this story, particularly because we have quite a collection of rubber ducks and she knows what a ‘ducky’ is, and that it says ‘quack quack’.

Using our collection of rubber ducks, I came up with a little water play activity to play with after reading the book.

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I gathered my supplies:

  • Baby bath with a little water in the bottom (you could use a large container, kitchen sink, bath)
  • Rubber ducks
  • Plastic cup
  • Container to fill (I used a medium sized mixing bowl)
  • Towel for catching all the spills

and stripped Miss E down to a nappy and T-shirt, because she was always going to end up soaking wet.

IMG_8230We put a duck in the bowl and slowly filled the bowl with water, making the duck rise to the top.

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We repeated this a few times with different ducks, and different levels of success at tipping the water into the bowl and not onto ourselves (Miss E, not me!).

Then we had some free play, which was mostly just a lot of splashing and tipping water everywhere, but a lot of fun on a hot day!

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I’ll repeat this activity when Miss E’s a little older, with rubber ducks, balls, leaves, rocks, toy cars etc, so that we can explore the idea of what sinks and what floats.

and now we go back to the book collection to find some more activities we can link to books!

Abby xx

 

A Love Story

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We’re not great celebrators of Valentine’s Day here, never have been. So we’ll just be celebrating our run of the mill Saturday, swimming lessons, catching up with family and avoiding the forecasted 42 degree heat!

So here’s a little love story of a different kind. The love between a little girl and her Penny dog.

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When all goes quiet in the house, this is where I find them, watching the world go by, and possibly licking the window.

The best of friends.

Abby xx