March break fun with tater tots

It’s March Break! Time for cartoons in the AM, all-day craft experiments, and luncheons with hot dogs and tater tots! Actually, my mom never bought us tater tots, and I don’t really eat them a lot as an adult. But I think there’s just something really cute and funny about tater tots. Well, the fact that they’re called tater tots. And they’re short and round. And who can forget their 2 minutes of fame in Napoleon Dynamite? Unfortunately, many tots had perished in the making of the film. So! I thought I’d make a tot that one can safely carry in one’s pocket :D

It’s designed with a flat bottom too, so it doesn’t always need to be carried around — it can stand on its own like an independent little tot, on a desk or countertop or whatever.

If you, too, would like to make a tot to carry around in your pocket, here’s what I did.

I used:
A bit of worsted weight yarn in yellow
3.5mm crochet hook
Stuffing (I used yarn ends)
Two small black beads for eyes
Embroidery thread and needle for mouth 

Edit 08/29/11: Row 1 is to achieve an oval base by working sc’s into both sides of the beginning ch. Apologies for not being very clear before, I added new process photos after a few inquiries specifically regarding this step, hope it helps!

Row 1: ch 5, 3 sc in 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc in each of next [2 ch], 3 sc in next ch, 1 sc in the remaining loop of each of the next 2 ch (the underside of the same [2 ch], indicated by the arrows in the picture below).

Complete row with sl st in the first sc of round.

Completed row 1 (an oval base):

Row 2: ch 1, in back loop only, sc in 1st sc, sc in each sc around, sl st in beginning sc. (10 sc)

Row 3: ch 1, sc in each sc around, sl st in beginning sc. (10 sc)

Row 4 — 5: Repeat row 3 (add or omit rows here to make taller or shorter tots)

Sew on eyes and mouth. Stuff with stuffing.

Row 6: ch 1, 2 sc tog 5 times, sl st in beginning sc, leaving a 6″ tail, tie off.

Weave tail around each sc in the opening, pull tight and tie off. Weave in end.

And here we have it, a tater tot! Almost as quick and easy as making the edible kind. And of course, I had to make more than one…

All lined up!


Circle time with Mrs. Clip (who also works part-time as a chip clip around here).


So what else can we do with the tots, except carrying them around in our pockets?

Well, one could practice juggling…


Or play tater-tot-toss (and say that ten times fast!)…


Or play hot taters with a friend or two…


And when you’re busy with other things, they can hang out on the fridge (on the frozen section, of course). Just put a safety pin on it and stick it on a magnet.


And they never go stale! So in a month’s time just add some wings and they can double as chicks for an Easter display.


What am I going to do with all the tots? Well, I’m afraid I have more plush than I have room for them. So if you like the tots but don’t know how to crochet or don’t have time to crochet, I’ve put three in the shop, they’d love for you to visit!

And I would like to thank Mike for spending the whole afternoon helping me with the photoshoot and putting up with my silly determination to take the perfect tossing pictures. Love you!

And I’d like to thank you for dropping by! I realize that many of us don’t have the luxury of March Break but I hope you enjoyed taking a break and visiting with the tater tots here!



Every once in a while I test myself to see if I’m still able to fold the paper rose. A friend showed me how to fold one back in high school. There was no diagram, just visual learning and muscle memory. Perhaps that was how Japanese children learn origami in the past.

And I’m always surprised to see that, after all these years, my fingers still remember order and position of every crease and fold. After all, it’s a rather complex model, involving a long series of pre-creases and three-dimensional shaping. I’ve never timed myself but I know that making a small bouquet takes more than half a day.

For all the work that goes into it, I’m struck by how much it also resembles a crumpled ball of paper when looked at from far away. In fact, I can easily obliterate all the carefully calculated folds and meticulous artistry with one squash of a finger, reducing it to nothing but a crumpled bit of scrap paper. And how much, I thought, that resembles our human existence.

And yet our lives are so rich. We build relationships. We share laughters and sorrows. We love. We may be here today and gone tomorrow, but the echo of our love is endless.

Initially I took the photo only for the post, but then I thought it would also make a nice wallpaper on my desktop, so while I was creating that I made several different sizes to share with you :)

Download wallpaper with origami rose:
1920 x 1200
1280 x 1024

Please refer to Content Sharing for use of images from this blog.

If you’d like to fold your own paper rose here’s one instruction.

Take care, friends.


If time is money, then I’ll spend it all for you
I will buy you flowers with the minutes we outgrew
I’ll turn hours into gardens, planted just for us to take
I’ll be reckless with my days, building castles in your name

– Sleeping At Last, Next to Me

creature comforts

I walked home from the grocery store today in a whirlwind of snow mixed with ice pellets. Spring is nowhere in sight at the moment. But these look cozy.

Perfect for a winter road trip, you think? :D

Free crochet puppet scarf pattern by Red Heart Yarn.


I didn’t realize that this was supposed to be a tooth pillow. At first glance I thought it was a full-size pillow that hides money, so that others (or the hider himself, once he’s forgotten about the hiding) would find the money and be pleasantly surprised. I don’t know how I could miss that, when one of the pictures on the post clearly says “feed me teeth,” and instead my mind makes up its own weird stories like that… But anyway, I still think it would look awesome on the couch as a large, cuddly pillow (that hides money, or love notes :D).

Instruction on The Long Thread.


I would very much like one of these heated cuddle buddies today, with a hot cup of tea. It’s like one of those heat packs filled with grains and herbs, except cuter.

Instruction by Eccentricat on Instructables.


I recently stumbled upon the idea of plarn (plastic bag yarn) and I’m so intrigued! I’ve crocheted with cut-up plastic bags before, I made snowflakes with the clear ones in the produce aisle. It tore terribly in the process and I never tried it again. But I saw a better way to make plarn, and I think I may give it a try. We don’t get free plastic bags anymore in Toronto (except those flimsy ones in the produce aisle), they’re 5 cents each, so we try to remember to bring reusable bags when we go shopping. When we do buy plastic bags we reuse the them to line the trash cans. So I actually don’t have a lot of plastic bags lying around in the house, and I’m probably going to try making some small creatures that don’t require a lot of plarn. The Eco Bunny Boy here is both amazing and inspiring.

Eco Bunny Boy by outoftheframe on Etsy.


And I love this charming owl bookmark, made with fused plastic bags (how-to here) and felt.

Found here.


Have a lovely evening, everyone!

weekend montage

Mike had to work at a food convention on the weekend, and he said it would be OK if I tagged along. We had our fair share (and generous helpings!) of food samples, including (but not limited to) an artful cappuccino, and waffles with various delicious toppings. I even got a complimentary cow key chain while wandering past the Sealtest booth. There were also lots of amazing things to feast our eyes on, like the cake decorating demonstration and interesting varieties of mushrooms. And cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs! For some odd reasons I was surprised to see that they looked exactly the same as they do on TV. Somehow I thought they’d look different in person.

We did have to look after our booth so we didn’t spend nearly as much time sampling from other exhibitors as we would like. So afterwards we went to Smoke’s for some real Canadian delicacies :P

Hope your weekend was re-energizing!

paper clips and rubber bands


I started on a new knitting project. It’s a top-down round-yoke cardigan, and it required stitch markers. I don’t have stitch markers, but I discovered that paper clips worked just fine :D I also wrapped a rubber band on the end of each needle, so stop the growing cardigan from running off the double-pointed needles.

My parents taught me to be resourceful :)

On a side note, the other sweater that I was working on, which is also grey, is giving me a bit of a headache at the moment. I completed it (yay!), but it turned out a bit big on me, so I threw it into the washer and dryer and hope that it would felt and shrink slightly (it’s made of an acrylic/wool blend, I’ve never felted anything in the machine before, so maybe it was a stupid thing to do). But then, after it came out from the dryer I was horrified to find that not only did it not shrink, it was also covered, and I mean covered, in white fuzz balls!


I’m going to have to run the sweater shaver all over it to get rid of all the fuzz, and then sew on the buttons. I’ll keep you posted!

Hope your weekend is fabulous!


P.S. The paper clip stitch marker isn’t my idea, I saw it used for crocheting over on Futurgirl Craft Blog, and I thought it might work for knitting too!

March Forth


And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

– Marianne Williamson



Today I went to my favourite bead store to find flower cabochons. I was looking for a turquoise dahlia flower for a ring and a couple of small pink roses for earrings. They were having a buy-one-get-one-free sale on resin flowers, so I got the roses for free! :D

And because the cabochons looked so sweet, I decided to take some pictures of them with the Zumi.

The roses were actually more of a coral pink. Maybe the colour will show up better against my skin, when I wear them as earrings! :D Right now I’m waiting for the E6000 to dry. Yes, today I splurged on a tube of industrial-strength super-glue, because the thought of losing part of an earring in the shower or on the street is too devastating. So I think it will be worth the $8 I spent on it. It’s supposed to take 48 hours to set, so… I have about 40 hours left to wait :/ And now I have enough glue to make hundreds more pairs of earrings, or hundreds of rings, or pendants, or whatever I will need industrial-strength glue for. Hmm. Does glue expire?

While Zumi was out I also took some pictures of my African violet. It stopped flowering for a year, and then after I trimmed it a couple of weeks ago it began blooming happily (and rapidly) again :D I was surprised how painterly these pictures looked.



More buds!


Have a happy Thursday!

think spring!

Today is the first day of March, and it’s a beautiful sunny day in my neighbourhood :D It is not officially spring yet, but I thought I’d share with you a few things that remind me of spring.

I’d like to do all my homework on these.

FurniBloom, by Icelandic designer Dagný Bjarnadóttir. (via Design*Sponge)

While it may be difficult to get these blooming chairs and tables from Iceland, growing an indoor lawn on our desks can be easy — by planting recycled t‑shirts! How awesome is that?

Desk lawn, tutorial on EASY.

And now that we have an indoor lawn, we may need a garden gnome.

Turns any child into the cutest gnome. Pattern from Lorajean’s Magazine.

These indoor mushroom gardens are simply gorgeous. Made with the edible varieties bought from the market. They make lovely table centerpieces, I think.

Instruction on Design*Sponge.

But if you’re looking for mushrooms that won’t ever wilt and dry out, here are the true display variety.

Origami diagram on Origami Club (via How About Orange).

And here we have the exceptionally sweet species — the meringue mushrooms. I find them so very intriguing. They even look like the real button mushrooms. Have you seen Martha’s mushroom cake? Magical, right? Seeing that I didn’t have a cake at my wedding, I think I must get one of these mushroom cakes for the upcoming anniversary.

There are lots of meringue mushrooms recipes on the world wide web but I like this one from Corner Cafe, because it shows how they’re piped. I’ve never piped anything before, so it will help if I ever try to make them.


Have a wonderful first day of March, everyone!