Monday, January 15, 2018

A Budding Photographer

My firstborn is now 5 years old. He is the reason I took up knitting and crocheting. He is also the reason I invested in a good camera. And by good camera, I mean one that is better than the tiny digital camera I used for vacation photos in 2006. I use my camera to take product photos, and to take photos of him and his sisters who model my creations. Recently, I have caught him playing with a toy camera. He was pretending to be a photographer. On one of those occasions, I had my camera in my hands so I snapped a few photos of him trying to take a "picture" of me. He is really interested in my camera. On occasion, I even let him press the button on my camera to capture a photo.

I never thought I would enjoy photography so much. Beyond the typical tourist photos on vacations, I did not really feel the call to take photos. Even with the invention of the camera phone, I did not use it very often. Maybe it is when I had children, or maybe it was the development of my product photography. Whatever it was, I have really jumped into photography. From setting up a shot, to editing the final look, I can see my own development even from just a few weeks ago. My photography journey is still in its infancy, and it appears I will have a buddy to join me. 

I would love to hear your favorite photography story! Tell me in the comments!
~Sarah Liz

Monday, January 8, 2018

"Bianca" Cable Knit Hat

Recently I decided to tackle one of my knitting fears. Cables. Once I took the plunge, it was not as scary as I thought it would be. After a little trial and error, or a lot of trial and error, I came up with a cable hat pattern that I really liked. I started selling them in my Etsy shop this past fall and got an amazing response. It ended up being one of year's best sellers! There was also interest in the knitting pattern, so I sent it to my testers, and got some great feedback, including some amusing typos. I am thrilled to present the "Bianca" hat pattern in my Ravelry store, as well as my Etsy shop! 

This whole experience has taught me that I should not let my fears hold me back. One of my favorite quotes is "Don't be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try." I should have listened when I read that quote a long time ago. Amazing things are waiting for you once you tackle some of your fears!

Here is some info for you about the pattern:

With the purchase of this pattern, you will receive a 6 page pdf file with the knitting instructions to make your very own Bianca hat. Instructions include written cable instructions, and instructions for 6 different sizes from Newborn to Adult!

Pattern is in US terms

Size 13 (9mm) US needles, double pointed and 16” circular
Size 15 (10mm) US needles, double pointed and 16” circular
1 Skein Bulky Yarn #6 (Wool Ease Thick n Quick)
Large Stitch Markers
Needle for weaving in ends
Optional – Large Pom Pom Maker, or Faux Fur Pom Pom

I would love to see your Bianca hats! Tag me on Instagram @craftsbysarahliz so I can see your work!

- You are free to sell what you make from this pattern. I would appreciate links back to my blog or Etsy shop to credit me as the designer.
- You may not use my photos.
- You may not share this pattern, but please share the listing link so your friends can buy it too.
- You may not sell this pattern or claim it as your own.

© 2018 Sarah Gross - Crafts by Sarah Liz

Monday, September 18, 2017

Chicken Verde Enchilada Lasagna

My husband loves Mexican cuisine. Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas; he loves them all. His most requested dish is enchiladas. For special occasions I will take the time to roll up the enchiladas individually before baking them, but for a normal weeknight dinner I like making an enchilada lasagna. It is so much easier, not as time consuming, and still tastes just as great!

2 chicken breasts
Taco seasoning packet
Olive Oil
10.5 oz can cream of chicken soup
7 oz can diced green chilis, drained
19 oz can green enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cheese
1 cup shredded cheese (for topping)
12 corn tortillas (I like using the King Size ones)
Juice of 1 lime
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
Tortilla strips (optional)

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Slice chicken breasts through the middle so they are not as thick. You should have 4 thin filets now. Sprinkle taco seasoning on and cook in olive oil until cooked through. Be careful not to overcook though. Save the rest of the taco seasoning.

While the chicken is cooking, mix 2 tbsp of the taco seasoning mix, cream of chicken soup, green chilis, 1/4 cup enchilada sauce, 2 cups cheese, lime juice, and half of the chopped cilantro. When your chicken is done cooking and has rested for 5 minutes, chop it up into small bite sized pieces and add to your mixture.

Layering the enchilada lasagna:
Add 1/4 cup enchilada sauce to the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Layer 3 tortillas on the bottom (I put 2 on one side of the pan, and split the 3rd one in half to fill in the holes on the other side of the pan). Scoop 2 cups of the filling mixture and spread it out on the tortillas. Repeat the tortillas and filling again. Add another layer of tortillas. Add the remaining filling mixture and spread. Add the last 3 tortillas. Pour the enchilada sauce over the top tortillas. Add 1 cup of cheese and remaining cilantro.

Cook at 350° for 30-45 minutes until bubbly and heated through. Top it with tortilla strips for a little crunch.

Serve with your favorite enchilada sides. My favorites are cilantro lime rice and refried beans.

Check back in next month for my Beef Enchilada Lasagna with Red Sauce!

Happy Cooking!
-Sarah Liz

Friday, September 8, 2017

Ladybug Hat - Free Crochet Pattern

I am so excited that the end of summer is in sight! I love the fall. One of my favorite things about the fall weather is that I can make adorable hats for my children to wear. A favorite hat has to be the ladybug hat. When I was searching for patterns I came across a few that I liked well enough, but they were not exactly what I was looking for. So with a combination of patterns, I made up my own.

I hook (5.5mm) (I am a tight crocheter, so you might want to adjust your hook size based on your tension)
Caron Simply Soft Yarn (Black, Harvest Red)

First of all, I love Repeat Crafter Me. She has so many cute designs, and her crochet beanie pattern is a staple for my own designs. She did a version of a ladybug hat here. I used her basic beanie pattern with some color changes at the top. Here is what I did.

- Using black, do the first 4 rows of the hat pattern in the size of your choice.
- Switch to red starting at row 5.
- Continue with earflaps in red.
- Sc around entire brim of hat (including earflaps) in black.
- Starting at the bottom of the black rows at the crown of the hat, surface slip st down the middle on both sides of the hat.
- Antennae
1. Magic circle, sc 8, do not join
2. Sc8
3. Sc8
4. 4sc decrease
5. 4sc 
Continue with round 5 until antennae measures 2.5 inches

- Dots
Magic circle, 12 dc around, join. Cut leaving long tail for sewing on.

- Ties
I use 5 strands of black, and 4 strands of red, approximately 1 yard long. Loop through the bottom of the earflap, and braid the ties to the desired length.

I would love to see your ladybug hats! Tag me on instagram @craftsbysarahliz so I can see your work!

- The main hat and earflap patterns are Sarah Zimmerman's from Repeat Crafter Me. Please give her due credit.
- You are free to sell what you make from my parts of the pattern. I would appreciate links back to my blog to credit me as the designer.
- You may not use my photos
- You may not sell this pattern or claim it as your own

© Sarah Gross - Crafts by Sarah Liz

Monday, August 28, 2017

Hannah Hair Bow - Free Knitting Pattern

My 2 year old loves hair accessories. She often opens the drawer where I keep all the headbands and hair clips and asks to wear one. She also throws a fit when I take it off, we are working on that part. Because of her love of hair accessories, I knew I needed to have a red bow for her 2nd birthday earlier this year. I was really wanting to do a knitted version of a bow so I created the "Hannah" Hair Bow just for this special occasion. But it really is a versatile piece that I want to do in all the colors possible to match every outfit. I do have the bow available for purchase in my Etsy shop, but I also wrote down the pattern to share with you. I also have the free pattern in pdf form on my Ravelry shop. Enjoy!

Size 6, 4mm needles
Worsted Weight Yarn (I used Caron Simply Soft)
Needle for weaving in ends
Optional - Hot Glue Gun
Optional - Hair Clip
Optional - Nylon Headband

K - Knit
Purl - Purl
St - Stitch
RS - Right Side
WS - Wrong Side

Long tail cast on 10 (alternatively, if you do not want to to a long tail cast on, thumb cast on 10, and knit 1 row before starting row 1 below)
1. K across
2. Slip 1 st purlwise, P rest of row
3. Slip 1 st knitwise, k rest of row
4-19. Repeat last 2 rows until you have 17 rows stockinette, ending with a rs row.
20. (WS) Cast off knitwise

Weave in ends.

Option 1:
Cut long length of yarn (I use approximately 1 yard). 
Weave needle through the center (see photo). 
Pinch center of bow. Wrap yarn around center of bow 10 times. 
Knot in the back and weave in ends. 
Using hot glue gun, glue center of bow to hair clip of choice.

Option 2:
Cut long length of yarn (1 yard). Weave needle through the center (see photo above). Pinch center of bow. 
Wrap yarn around the center of the bow AND a nylon headband. 
Knot in the back and weave in ends.

I would love to see your bows! Tag me on instagram @craftsbysarahliz so I can see your work!

- You are free to sell what you make from this pattern. I would appreciate links back to my blog to credit me as the designer.
- You may not use my photos
- You may not sell this pattern or claim it as your own

© Sarah Gross - Crafts by Sarah Liz

Monday, August 7, 2017

My Personal Cheerleader

I highly doubt I would be where I am today with my crafting were it not for the praise and encouragement from my husband. We have been married for 8 1/2 years and have 3 children. He makes me laugh, and is such a source of comfort and encouragement. He even lets me use his pretty face to take photos of my menswear. Having said all that, he has only asked me to make him a few things in all my years of knitting and crocheting. Here are some of the things I have made at his request.

-Minion hats for the family-

This was a fun one. It is something of a family tradition now to see any Despicable Me movies as a family in the theaters. He requested that I make minion hats for all of us when the Minions movie came out. Naturally we had to capture the moment for posterity.

-Baby Groot-

We love Guardians of the Galaxy, so after we saw Volume 2 he requested a Baby Groot for his desk at work. Hubby wants a Baby Groot, hubby gets a Baby Groot. Our son wants one now that he saw his daddy get one so there may be more Baby Groots in the near future.

-USC Trojans Hat-

With the previous projects, he was pretty open with the designs, and I didn't have to worry too much about it. Then came the USC hat. He was VERY specific with what he wanted. After lots of research, presenting color options, and reworking the letters to get them just so, this hat is what I produced for him.

Since these are all items that have copyrights, I won't be able to sell any of these items, but it was fun making them for personal use. And it made the hubby happy. And a happy hubby makes the best kind of cheerleader for a Mom Boss / Entrepreneur like me. I wonder what his next request will be...

Much Love,
Sarah Liz

Monday, July 31, 2017

Flower Child Headband - Crochet Pattern

Do you remember making those daisy chain crowns from the tiny flowers in the grass? That is what I was going for. My oldest daughter loves all things girly. Which we find hilarious, because she is a determined, tenacious, little bruiser of a little girl. She loves flowers and especially flowers that go in her hair. I was inspired to make her a headband with tons of flowers.

Most of the flower headband patterns I have seen, including some of my own, have you make the headband separately and make individual flowers and sew them on one by one. Most fiber artists will tell you that the sewing and weaving in ends is our least favorite part. I wanted to make something with the least amount of ends to weave in. After some trial and error, I created the Flower Child Headband. I love it because the white yarn is never cut except at the final cut to finish off the headband. The yellow centers are the only ends to weave in, and I actually use those ends to help secure the flowers to the headband!

I used Aunt Lydia's #10 Crochet Cotton thread to make a dainty little piece that fits both my 8 month old and my 2 year old! I love making headbands that adjust to your baby's head so you don't have to buy a new one every time they outgrow it, which seems like every month.

I added the headband to my Etsy shop, but if you want to have a go at making one yourself, you can also purchase the pattern on Etsy, or on my Ravelry store.

I would love to see your Flower Child Headbands! Tag me on instagram @craftsbysarahliz so I can see your work!

- You are free to sell what you make from this pattern. I would appreciate links back to my blog to credit me as the designer.
- You may not use my photos
- You may not sell this pattern or claim it as your own

© Sarah Gross - Crafts by Sarah Liz