Friday, March 17, 2017

Diplodocus Dino Mini Pillow | New Crochet Pattern

(You can purchase a PDF copy of this pattern at my Etsy shop or my Ravelry shop!)

Hey there, and happy St. Patrick's Day!

Unfortunately, this pattern has nothing to do with the holiday. *Sigh* Too bad. But hey, there's a little green -- that qualifies, right?

I love a holiday, as I'm sure I have said before, because it is a chance to do a little something new. Even if it is just preparing Irish stew and watching a movie with an Irish actor (by the way, I recommend The Quiet Man with John Wayne and Irish Maureen O'Hara).

It's funny because every time the holiday rolls around we start the whole debate on what qualifies as green and what doesn't. We've gathered some scanty rules over the years, mostly: the green must be obvious (undergarments do not qualify), and having green in your eyes is not enough. The ongoing conflicts regarding St. Patrick's Day start anew each year, and it is hilarious. There's always the hasty pinching before proof of green is revealed or the opinions of whether a tiny spot in the pattern of your shirt is really green or not. My Dad is usually the worst about bending the rules, but despite our determined opposition, he usually gets away with it.

For me, no sweat. Green is my favorite color, and my red hair combined with the fraction of Irish blood in me, makes me the winner every time. Or so I say. I like to boast that I'm the most Irish person here. When someone is searching for something green, they can often find what they are looking for among my things.

But I suppose I'll get on with my pattern and let the green lie.

Another Mini Pillow

Since making my second mini pillow ever a few months ago, I have (obviously) been on a mini pillow rampage. You can see the very first one I made here. To start out my spree, I made a Valentine's pattern for Crochet Spot called Pastel Hearts Mini Pillow, then another Valentine's pattern for Ginger Peachy called Glitzy Heart Mini Pillow. I actually had a third Valentine's pillow in mind but couldn't fit it as well as the next one in on time, so I sacrificed it. Maybe next year. I wanted to complete the next one for my sister's birthday, Cupcake Delight, which I did but you can look back over my posts to see my revisions. That makes four mini pillows and now this one.

The revised mini pillow is going to my niece for her birthday. She's 2-years-old and when she saw a picture of the unrevised version on her mother's computer she said it was hers. Totally adorable! So, like a pushover auntie, I set about working on another just for my little sweetie.

When I finished the Cupcake Delight and its revisions, I thought, why not make one for my nephew? And that is the one I am sharing with you today!

Why a Diplodocus?

A dinosaur was a natural choice since 1) I know he likes them, 2) practically every child likes dinosaurs, and 3) I've always loved them myself. I began by sketching a few poses and species, which is a fancy way of saying I scribbled some odd shapes on paper. Obviously, I didn't like them. I'm not too fond of my attempts at cartooning things so I turned to other inspiration. I saw the dino sketch of Laura Uy's and was intrigued. It was round and looked like a good candidate for "crochet-ifying". It turned out pretty cute, but in the end, it really didn't resemble Laura's sketch. Mostly, my insecurities got in the way, so I ditched the idea (though not the pattern) and started over.

I scanned the dinosaur books we had, Dinosaur's by Design by Duane Gish and Dinosaur's by Ken Ham, and came up with a diplodocus. Long neck and tail and bulgy in the middle. Even after designing it I wasn't convinced I was satisfied. And if you asked me now I'm not sure I am yet. But the other half of me is pleased at my little creation and hoping all of you will be too!

So here's the pattern! (Be sure and check out my shop soon to purchase a copy of the pattern or your very own pillow)!

Diplodocus Dino Mini Pillow

All the details you'll need for a successful creation!

Skill Level Easy

Finished Size 
10” (25.5 cm) square

Medium Weight Yarn
 Yardage: 100 yards each of color A (white) and color B (blue), 20 yard of color C (green), 2  yards of color D (orange)
Crochet Hook 7 (4.50mm) and H (5.00 mm)
Yarn Needle
Polyester Fiberfill
Fabric glue
Cross-stitch needle and black floss

With hook size H,
7 sc = 2’’
7 rows = 2’’
Gauge Swatch: 2’’w x 2’’h (5 cm x 5 cm) ch 8.
Row 1: sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across: 7 sc
Row 2 – 7: ch 1, turn, sc in each sc across: 7 sc
Finish off.

Stitches and Abbreviations 
Ch (chain)
Sc (single crochet)
Sl st (slip stitch)
St (stitch)
Sts (stitches)
Beg (beginning)
Hdc (half double crochet)
Tr (treble)
Dtr (double treble)

The actual pillow is practically the same as the revised version of the Cupcake Delight Mini Pillow, with a few minor details changed.

Round 1: with color A (white), make an adjustable ring, ch 1, 12 sc in ring, sl st in first sc:
12 sc
Round 2: ch 3 (counts as sc and ch 2 here and throughout), sc in first sc, sc in next 2
sc, * (sc, ch 2, sc) in next sc, sc in next 2 sc, repeat from * around, sl st in first ch of
beg ch-3: 16 sc
Round 3: (sl st, ch 3, sc) in next ch-3 sp, sc across to next ch-sp, * (sc, ch 3, sc) in
next ch-2 sp, sc across to next ch-sp, repeat from * around, sl st in first ch of beg ch-3:
20 sc
Round 4 – 14: repeat Round 3: 112 sc
Round 15: with color B (blue), repeat Round 3: 116 sc
Finish off.

Repeat panel #1 instructions in color B (blue).

Join panels with color B (blue) in sc, leaving a gap at the end. Stuff generously with stuffing and seal up.

I recently bought a different kind of fiberfill, I mentioned on my Instagram, and have had an interesting experience using it. After giving is some more use, I will have to post a review!

This dinosaur applique is worked by first crocheting the body in the round, then the tail and next the head. The legs are worked separately and then attached afterward.

Round 1: with color C (green), ch 4, 3 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next ch, 3 sc in last ch to turn to opposite side, working in back ridge, sc in next ch, sl st in first sc: 8 sc
Round 2: ch 1, * 2 sc in next 3 sc, sc in next sc, repeat from * around, sl st in first sc: 14 sc
Round 3: ch 1, (2 sc in next st, sc in next st) 3 times, sc in next st, 2 hdc in next st, dc in next st, 2 dc in next st, dc in next st, 2 hdc in next st, hdc in next st, sc in last st, sl st in first sc: 20 sts
Round 4: ch 1, (2 sc in next st, sc in next 2 sts) 3 times, sc in next st, (sc, hdc) in next st, dc in next st, hdc in next st, sc in next st, [tail] ch 20, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and next ch, sc in next ch, sc2tog, sc in next ch, sc in next ch, hdc2tog, hdc in next 2 ch, dc2tog, dc in next 2 ch, tr2tog 2 times, dtr in next ch [end of tail], skip 2 sc of body, 2 sc in next sts, sc in next 3 sts, sl st in first sc: 42 sts
Round 5: sl st in next 2 sts, sc in next st, hdc in next 2 sts, [neck and head] ch 24, sl st in 3rd ch from hook, ch 1, (3 sc, 2 dc, 2sc) in ring, (sc in next ch, sc2tog) 2 times, (hdc in next ch, hdc2tog) 2 times, hdc in next ch, dc in next ch, dc2tog, dc in next ch, tr2tog, tr in next ch, dtr in next ch [end of neck], skip next 3 sc of body, sc in next st,  sl st in next st: 29 sts
Finish off.

Top Hind Leg
Round 1: make an adjustable ring, ch 1, 8 sc, sl st in first sc: 8 sc
Round 2: ch 1, 2 sc in each sc around, sl st in first sc: 16 sc
Round 3: ch 8, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next ch, sc2tog (skipping a st in the center so that you are decreasing by 3 sts), 3 dc in next ch, dc in next ch, skip next 2 sc of Round 2, sl st in next sc: 7 sts
Finish off, leaving a long end for sewing.

Bottom Hind Leg
Repeat Round 3 of Top Hind Leg.

Top Front Leg
Round 1: make an adjustable ring, ch 1, 8 sc, sl st in first sc: 8 sc
Round 2: ch 11, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next ch, dc2tog (skipping a st in the center so that you are decreasing by 3 sts), hdc in next ch, hdc2tog (skipping a st in the center so that you are decreasing by 3 sts), hdc in next ch, skip next sc of Round 1, sl st in next sc: 6 sts
Finish off, leaving a long end for sewing.

Bottom Front Leg
Repeat Round 2 of Top Front Leg.

Sew the legs to body as if he were walking, very close to each other but not overlapping.

With color D (orange) and a yarn needle, whipstitch partial triangles over back and down tail, then from head to mid-neck. Or cut out triangles from felt and glue. I considered this but felt the stitches looked more like what I had in mind.

With black floss and a cross-stitch needle, embroider an eye at the center of the head. Stitch or glue applique (I used this glue) to front pillow panel.

And that's it!

This pillow is perfect for anyone who loves dinosaurs, not just little nephews. Frankly, I would love to have a bunch of dinosaur pillows and stuffies all over my bed. They never get old.

You can visit my Etsy shop or my Ravelry shop to purchase a PDF copy of this pattern! The instructions are concise (leaving out all my blabbering gibberish) and easy to understand. Plus, it's free of ads and great to keep in your own pattern stash!

For those of you who are not crocheters but like the pillow, I will be offering the actual pillow for purchase at Ginger Peachy Store on Etsy. Keep in mind that I do custom orders as well!

If you run into any mistakes in my pattern, please notify me and I will fix them!

This is an original pattern created and designed by Amy Yarbrough of Ginger Peachy. You are welcome to copy the pattern for personal use but do not sell the pattern, distribute, or reprint it. Feel free to share a link to the pattern. You can sell products made from this pattern but please credit me, Amy Yarbrough of Ginger Peachy. Do not mass produce or factory manufacture using my pattern. Thanks for respecting the wishes of the designer, and be sure to ask me if you have any questions regarding this copyright.

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Man with a Relatable Problem

What propels us to do what we do?

What reasons do we have for the decisions we make?

Do we worry what others will think before making certain decisions?

It is the Christian's objective to live for Christ, to stand up for His word and challenge others to stand up as well. And yet, it is so easy to simply avoid speaking out about our faith or addressing those topics that are "socially unacceptable." It is the good things, godly things, that are hard to do and take intentional commitment. We all fear something, and sometimes the root of what we fear lies in what we expect others will say or how they will treat us. Although we hate to admit it, we fear man more than we fear God more often than not.

An Example of Fearing Man 

"Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him." (Genesis 32: 11)
The other morning I was ready Genesis 32 where Jacob is anxious about how his brother will treat him after all the years he's been away. His brother's last words were a death threat and Jacob had no way of knowing whether the years had mellowed or intensified his brother's feelings.

That night, Jacob sent everyone on ahead and remained behind alone. I imagine he was struggling with what the coming day might bring and how he was to blame for the danger his family was in now. But what could he do?

While Jacob sat alone with his thoughts, the Angel of the Lord came and fought with him, physically wrestling. As I read this passage, like I had many times before, I wondered why Jesus, whom the Angel of the Lord is said to truly be, would wrestle with Jacob. What's more, why did Jesus allow Jacob to hold his own against Him? If this was Jesus showing Jacob his power then wouldn't he have overpowered him immediately? Granted, God's ways are strange to man and his methods not normally what we would choose.

I was suddenly struck with a thought: Jesus was showing Jacob his power. Jacob was well acquainted with the abilities of the Lord, His power over mankind and all creation, and he knew that Jesus could easily overpower him, mind, body, and soul. However, Jesus was giving Jacob a lesson of restrained strength.

From a human standpoint, to be the ultimate victor means to be the greater, stronger opponent. And yet how much greater is the opponent you know can win who has the power to hold back for a greater good?

This encounter of Jacob's with the Angel of the Lord was an answer to his prayer of verses 9-12. What God was saying was, "Do not fear your brother who is just a man. I hold life and death in My hand, fear Me instead."

In fear of his brother, Jacob needed reminded that God was still in control of the events of his life. And the beauty of it is that God already knew how the situation would turn out. Esau was indeed a changed man and God knew that Jacob had nothing to fear.

Bringing it Home

What about you? What are you so focused on that you can't see the hand of God? Is he trying to get your attention by "wrestling" with you? Remember, Jacob came out of the struggle with a permanent limp to remind him of his lesson.

God uses many ways to refocus our attention on Him. Sometimes it's as simple as a thought, while other times, when we are especially distracted or disobedient, He can get tough.

 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14: 26-27 NKJV)

Recently the Lord brought to my attention a certain aspect of my life that I was holding back on. He began a theme in my bible reading --I consistently, and from unconnected sources, ran across passages like Luke 14:25-33 where Jesus calls us to forsake everything and everyone for Him. Our loyalty and commitment must be so strong and fierce that our feelings for ourselves and others would pale in comparison, registering figuratively as hate.

I was convicted. In being completely honest with myself I had to admit that I was not courageous enough to follow Him come what may. If He called me to a different sort of life, instead of an immediate "yes," I would hesitate and wonder how this would affect my present life and relationships.

I was ashamed at that realization, and I must say, admitting it here kind of intensifies the feeling. I would be seemingly justified if I hung my head and gave up. But when God calls us to do something, He gives us the strength to do it. He knows my failures and He knows my heart. The next thing I did was write down this specific request in my prayer journal so that I would remember to pray again and again for it: that God would show me what it looked like for me to give up everything that mattered to me and follow Him.

Like Jacob, I have been fearing man and circumstances instead of God, and my struggle with this is of God, trying to get me to open my eyes. What I will do in regard to this, I still don't know.

Who or what have you been putting before God? Has He had to "wrestle" with you to get your attention? Are you listening now? The God who knows how to balance a just nature with a heart of mercy and love can be all that we need for the journey.

Once again, although more humbly now, I say, "Here am I, Lord, send me," and pray that I have the courage to follow through.

Friday, March 10, 2017

My Nautical Jewelry Obsession | Jewelry Making

At this point in the week I normally share with you a crochet pattern, but since my little dino mini pillow still needs some work, (I want it to be perfect!), I will turn to another of my favorite crafts, jewelry making!

For Christmas I received three nautical pendants that I just adored: a sea star locket, a jeweled whipstaff, and a twine tangled anchor. I've made quite a few pieces in my years making jewelry but never great quantities at a time, so my stash of supplies is kind of moderate, meaning I had to wait until I could get what I needed before I could make them into wearable jewelry.

When it comes to jewelry, I'm a long necklace and dangly earrings sort of girl. I don't really do bracelets, rings, anklets, brooches, or small earrings, although there are times when I break the mold. I'm also kind of natural in my choice of material. I would choose a beaded necklace over a diamond one nearly every time. This is not to say though that I do not like bling. You've got me at pearls!

Nautical pendants are perfect and my mother knows it. She made an excellent choice in stocking stuffers for me, but then again, she always does. I made the sea star locket with some gold chain I already had but I had to wait for material for the other two.

After hours of searching and comparing chains, jump rings, and necklace clasps from Joann's online I finally rounded up my list and made an order. Frankly, I despise ordering jewelry supplies. The brands that Joann's supplies never give enough information, like Blue Moon Beads and Jewelry Basics. I always end up with chain that is too big, or too chunky.

Then there's color. There's gold, bright gold, rose gold, brass, antique brass, brushed brass, oxidized brass, and then copper, etc! Each brands version of that color looks like a different one in the other brand. I could pull my hair out.

In desperation, I found another site called and loved the detailed information on each product. The prices were pretty good, if I'm any judge, that is, until I encountered the chain. I sighed and went back to Joann's. And what do you know? At least two kinds of chain I bought isn't going to work, and I discovered I already had plenty of antique brass jump rings.

There's got to be a better way.

Okay, so I won't keep on about my ordering woes, but here is one last example. I thought the chain would be smaller, better for a delicate looking pendant like this. It turns out the color isn't even right. I was calling the metal of the pendant copper, but in comparison to this chain, it's rose gold! I got this pendant maybe two years ago and still haven't quite found a chain I like.

So anyway, this week I set up shop to assemble the necklaces. My sister kindly brought in the umbrella lights (so sad that I don't know what they are called and she is not here right now to tell me). As I have said before, I try to be professional but when she is around, I get lazy and let her do it.

I had already finished the gold sea star locket and had the anchor and whipstaff remaining. I wasn't sure about it, but I decided to mix two small chains for the anchor. Afterward I tried to like it but couldn't.

I got this chain later and am much more pleased with it. I told Mom, if I didn't one hundred percent like it, then I most likely would not wear it. And what a waste of a good pendant.

A little loot from my last order. I thought that chain had so much potential. I just neglected to note that the length is only 24 inches.

And here we are! I think this one turned out the best. When I first made it, and my sister learned it was a locket, she borrowed it while I was working, quite suspiciously, and then gave it back. I didn't pay much attention but then I caught her laughing about something to the others and realized she was up to something. When I opened my locket, guess what I saw? A mini picture of Henry Cavill. Very funny. The humor of my siblings sometimes.

I am a total gold person, mind you, no silver. Well, unless you count the silver anchor earrings I sometimes wear. But the funny thing is, sometimes bright gold can be a bit much for me. Surprisingly, this necklace is perfect. I don't mind the bright gold a bit. I made this one 28 inches long, just long enough without being too casual.

I chose jute for this pendant mostly because I didn't have a chain I liked. When I do find a chain worthy of this pendant, you can be sure I'll take this necklace apart. But until then, I don't mind sharing my ingenuity in adding a few special touches.

I overlapped the twine and knotted it evenly in two places on either side of the pendant. I guess you can't see it in this picture. Shame, because I did a good job, if I don't mind saying so myself. Although I was aiming for a length of about 20 inches, with this design I can make it as long as 25 inches to a choker. I definitely didn't want to go too long when using twine or the necklace would look twiggy.

And my lovely jute-covered anchor with white flukes. I really am glad I changed the chain from the two strands of small chain to this one strand of larger chain. Now I think I can wear it with ease. Because of the casual-ness of this piece I wanted it to be longer than the rest, so I chose a length of 32 inches long.

Frankly though, now that I look at it, it doesn't seem much longer than the locket...

Did you like my pictures? I borrowed some ideas from watching my sisters product photography attempts and the videos she watches. Maybe not the best, but I think it was a little bit inspired.

Actually, I used some old and dear elements for these scenes. That checkerboard was a gift from my Grandpa that he made years ago for my parents. The china has also been here for as long as I can remember. I'm thinking the set was a gift from Mom's Grandmother. But I'm not sure.

Anyway, that does it for this weeks craft post! How do you like my necklaces? Tell me what you think in the comments below! (If you can't find the comment section, then click on the post title to go directly to the posts page and the comments are at the bottom).

Thanks for reading! Come back soon for the grand unveiling of my dino mini pillow!!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Where are Creationist Marine Biologists? Do They Even Exist?

You know the feeling of loneliness you get when you are surrounded by a crowd of strangers?

What about the feeling of relief when you suddenly see a familiar face?

I'm sure anyone can understand this, but for a Christian in this liberal world, these feelings are all too relatable.

Growing up I have always been attracted to the marine world in some fashion or another. I would look at our Wildlife Fact Files my mother so kindly compiled and was always drawn to the marine animals. Seafaring adventures were a daily staple as I read real-life tales and watched Hollywood's dramatizations. I did quite a bit of research in school on maritime archaeology, the sailing ship, and the history of pirates. And naturally, I took both maritime archaeology and marine biology in highschool.

Being landlocked, so to speak, I could only dream about the ocean. But many years ago, when I discovered the live footage presented by NOAA from their research vessel, Okeanos Explorer, I was obsessed. For many years now I and my family have kept up with the Okeanos' annual expeditions and have learned so very much, which has only intensified my love for the ocean.

And yet, as a committed creationist, there are times when I become weary of reading, watching, and hearing science interpreted by the liberal, evolutionary world. It's like a breath of fresh air to suddenly find an article by a creationist on one of my favorite areas of science and I soak it up like an eager sponge. This article by Steve Austin for example, I greatly appreciated when I was studying hydrothermal vents. (You can read what I wrote on the subject right here by searching "hydrothermal vents" with my blogs search engine.)

Recently, I found myself in that same situation, where I felt I suddenly needed a breath of fresh air. I was reading posts from scientists and students I follow on social media and I came to the unsurprising realization that not one of them believed the biblical account of creation. This time I asked myself whether there really were any creationist marine biologists. Of course, I know there are some, but just how many? Surely there are many, I told myself, I just need to find them.

This became my challenge. I would do the research and dig up a slew of creationist marine biologists to attest my belief.

I started with the organizations I knew, such as the Institute for Creation Research, Answers in Genesis, and Creation Ministries International. These places offer such a remarkable variety of subjects and discussions. Christian's are truly blessed to have such information at their fingertips.

But I didn't find quite what I was looking for. In fact, it was hard to define what I was really looking for. To say I wanted some creationist marine biologists to follow on social media to balance the evolutionary one's was true but didn't encompass all that I was looking for. I was still inwardly wondering if I could find any.

I spent many hours of research and found two very helpful lists others had created on modern creation scientists (both AiG and CMI offer lists). I went through them faithfully but was both encouraged and disappointed in what I found. Encouraged that there was so many scientists that upheld the biblical account of creation. Disappointed because, among all the well-known Christian scientists there was only one who is a marine biologist, Dr. Rob Carter.

A general search of Google presented a few pleasing results, but many more let downs. I ran across a write-up on Christian's in the field of science and was almost impressed by the facts until they proposed that God, in His ability to use whatever He wishes for His purpose, would have used even evolution to bring about the world. I shook my head at the blatant ignorance of the creation account in Genesis and moved on.

Christians! Science is the study of our world, the one God created -- shouldn't we be the first in line to sign up? Why is the world of science so awash with liberal mindsets?

I am ashamed of fellow Christians. And I am propelled to consider what my part in this area might be. I'm only an amateur in marine science, I don't have any degrees --although I am sure I have a head start on many students with my personal studies. High school marine biology was a long time ago but reading and watching nearly whatever I can get hold of, plus the almost-infield exposure of live footage, has kept it fresh in my mind.

I did, however, discover a family during my research that I was impressed with and inspired by. Mike Wild is a marine biologist who has become a tribal missionary with his wife and five boys. This is kind of off track, but the Wild family lives somewhere in the Pacific ministering to the natives. I was reading their blog at AiG and found myself very intrigued. Ministry and mission work has always interested me, though I never knew what to do or where to go with the passion.

The Wild family's life seems to be full of nature, a unique lifestyle, and sharing the gospel with the natives. They hold services every Sunday, I believe, and teach the people about God. The boys have videos available at the Answers in Genesis store which I have heard of but never seen. After running into their blog I am now curious to watch the videos.

Even if not everyone is interested in nature, I believe we have a responsibility to know about it and seek what we might learn from it, since God has created it and given it into our care. If you are a scientist reading this, do you realize what kind of position you are in? You have the chance to interpret science two ways, which do you choose? Theory or fact? Christian's in science, do you take your faith seriously? Do you believe that your faith and your work belong together?

Researching this topic has brought up a lot of questions for me and I am hardly finished with it. I haven't given up and will continue to search for Christians in the field of marine biology as well as share what I can myself.

I hope this post has been interesting! I would love to hear your thoughts, so don't be a stranger. Leave me a comment in the comment section below. (If you are reading this on the main page, then click the post link to find comments!)