My Favorite Place in the World

Last week my family spent the day at Universal in Orlando. We have been dying to visit the new Harry Potter World, and this was the only time we would get to go while my sister was home from school. It was seriously one of my favorite days ever, so get ready for a kind of long post with a lot of pictures! We are huge Harry Potter fans over here. I grew up on the books and secretly hoped a letter from Hogwarts would arrive on my 11th birthday. As expected, no letter arrived, and my heart broke a little.IMG_0263We stayed in the new hotel on Universal property so we could get into the park an hour before everyone else. We have never done that before, but it was completely worth it! We stayed at Cabana Bay and it was really cool. I wish we had more time to just hang out at the hotel. There was a huge pool and a couple restaurants that looked pretty good. We have been to the parks before over Christmas break, and it is always terribly crowded. However, having that extra hour was so fantastic. We could really take our time to look around without tons of people crowding around.

We actually got into the park about 15 minutes earlier than expected, and booked it straight to the new Gringotts ride. It was incredible. I felt like I was actually in Diagon Alley and Gringotts was so cool to walk through. All of the Goblins were moving and looking at us as we walked past them. I really don’t love roller coasters, so the ride was not my favorite, but it was really neat to look at everything.IMG_0139IMG_0133IMG_0132After Gringotts we went to pick out a new wand. We settled on the Elder Wand and got an interactive one. There are spots all around Diagon Alley, and the older Hogsmeade, that are interactive. You wave your wand, and sometimes say a spell, and a door will unlock or a fountain will turn on. It must be so cool for J.K. Rowling to see hundreds of people walking around in a world she created, carrying wands and casting spells.OlivandersWe spent a couple of hours just looking around. We went into all the shops and looked in all of the windows. We also got a few butter beers. The frozen ones are the best!IMG_0235IMG_0365IMG_0183IMG_0234IMG_0229IMG_0220IMG_0223IMG_0216Weasley'sIMG_0203IMG_0190We all agreed that our favorite part was Knockturn Alley. First thing in the morning we were literally the only ones there. It was really dark, so it was hard to take pictures, but it was awesome. There was a big shop in there, where I got a Deathly Hallows mug, and was full of Death Eater masks and also housed the Vanishing Cabinet.IMG_0171IMG_0172IMG_0170Another one of my favorite parts was the Hogwarts Express. It connected Universal and Islands of Adventure and was so cool. The inside of the train looked right out of the movies! Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure was way more crowded than Diagon Alley. We went straight to ride the Hogwarts Castle ride. Again, I don’t like the actual ride, but I love walking through the castle and looking at everything in the ride. It is all so detailed that I see new things every time I ride it.IMG_0260IMG_0267IMG_0270After the castle ride, we had lunch at the Leaky Cauldron and walked through some of the shops.

We spent a little more time in Islands of Adventure before heading back to Universal. We really love the Seuss area. There is a little bakery in Seuss Landing that has the best sweets. I usually get a brownie that is always delicious. It is our little tradition to stop there and get a snack.

We went back to Universal to see Diagon Alley one more time before we left. It was getting crowded and harder to see things when we went back.

We rode a couple more rides before we left. We rode Transformers and my sisters rode Rip Ride Rocket. We decided to leave the park for dinner and ate at Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. It was a really great way to end the night.IMG_0283 IMG_0290I was so impressed with Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure the first time we went, but Diagon Alley was really incredible. I can’t believe how realistic it is and how much detail is everywhere. It is amazing. If you are any kind of Harry Potter fan, I highly recommend taking a trip to Harry Potter World!

Finished Chevron Crochet Blanket!

Happy Christmas Eve! I can’t believe Christmas is already here. I feel like I need another week or two to finish getting ready. December seriously flew by! Tonight we are having our annual Christmas Eve Bonfire with our family and friends. We’ve been doing this for about 20 years, and it is a really fun tradition. We have s’mores and hot chocolate and read Luke 2 to remind ourselves why we celebrate this holiday. It is one of my favorite things about Christmas!

Before all of the crazy Christmas preparation begins, I thought I would share with you the finished chevron blanket! I have been working on this for a while and I am so happy it is finally done! I love the blanket, but it was really tedious. IMG_0348.JPGEach stripe was six rows thick, and I worked only out of the front loops to give it more texture. I really like the thick stripes. Like I said in previous posts, I used Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn in black and white. I really like this yarn for blankets because it is soft, and it washes really well in the washing machine. I’ve made several blankets out of this yarn, and they have all held up really well over several years. IMG_0349.JPGYou can learn more about this blanket here and hereIMG_0354.JPGI hope everyone is having a great holiday season! I really can’t believe it is already almost 2015! This year went by so fast! And remember, you can follow me on Twitter (@lizziebellablog) and Instagram (@lizzie_bella_)!

 

Crochet Christmas Trees!

I have been trying to use up some of the yarn I already own. I have way too much, but always feel like I don’t have the perfect kind for any new project I want to start. I’m trying to use up most of the yarn I already have before I buy any new yarn. I’m actually trying to make all of my Christmas gifts with yarn from my stash! One of my biggest problems is that I will buy a whole skein and only use a small part of it. I saw that I had a lot of half used balls of green yarn, so I decided I would find some way to use it this Christmas. I stumbled upon this Crochet Christmas Tree pattern from The Lazy Hobbyhopper and really loved it! If you are looking for a last minute Christmas decoration and have some spare yarn, I think these little Christmas Trees are perfect! IMG_0329.JPGThey are pretty quick to make, and it is really easy to customize the size. All you have to do is just add or remove rows from the original cone. IMG_0319.JPGIMG_0338.JPGIMG_0320.JPGI wish I had found this pattern sooner! I would have made myself an entire forest if I had the time!

 

 

 

Crochet V-Stitch Scarf!

DSC_9115Today I am sharing with you the pattern to this crochet v-stich scarf! There are so many different ways you can make this, but I love extra long infinity scarves that you can loop around a couple of times. This one is really simple, and works up pretty fast, and is super easy to customize however you want it!

1. To begin, make a chain that is a multiple of 3, plus 2. DSC_90602. Skip the first 3 chains (counts as first double crochet), and double crochet in 4th chain from hook. DSC_9063_FotorDSC_90643. Skip 2 chain stitches. Double crochet, ch1, double crochet in next ch stitch. DSC_90674. Skip 2 chain stitches. Double crochet, ch1, double crochet in next stitchDSC_90715. Continue steps 3 and 4 until you get to the final 4 chain stitches.DSC_9074Skip 2 chains, and work one double crochet in each of the last two chain stitches. DSC_9078DSC_90816. Ch 3 (counts as first double crochet of the next row) and turnDSC_9084_Fotor7. Double crochet in the second double crochet of previous round. I marked it with a star in the previous picture. Now you will be working out of the ch1 spaces from the previous round. In the first ch1 space, work double crochet, ch1, double crochet. DSC_90938. Continue working a double crochet, ch1, double crochet in the remaining ch1 spaces from the previous round. DSC_90969. When you reach the end, you will have a double crochet, and the beginning chain3 front the previous row and you will work a double crochet in each.

DSC_9097So each row will begin with two double crochets and end with two double crochets. Keep repeating steps 6-9 until it is as long as you like!DSC_9101DSC_9104I made mine with a 7 mm hooks from KnitPicks. I like the stitches looser and using a bigger hook made it go a little faster. DSC_9121The first one I made was solid gray and made from Caron Simply Soft and I used about two and a half skeins.. I loved the way it turned out! It is long enough to wrap around twice and is actually really warm. DSC_9105The navy, cream and gray color block scarf was made using Hobby Lobby’s Soft Secret yarn. I really liked the colors of the yarn, but I don’t know if I would use it again for this scarf. I feel like it stretches a little more than I would like, and it splits a lot while I worked.

There are so many different color combinations you can use. I started making a striped one, but haven’t finished it yet. Changing colors took more time than I realized and I got a little burnt out. But, I think it is really pretty, and plan on finishing it soon!DSC_8715I hope that this is easy to follow! If you have any questions, pleas let me know! And, as usual, if you make anything with this pattern, I would love to see it! You can follow me on Instagram at @lizzie_bella_ and on Twitter @lizziebellablog!

 

Christmas Granny Square Blanket

DSC_9033I started this granny square blanket last October. I thought I would definitely have it done by last Christmas, and over a year later, it is still unfinished! I honestly forgot about it until I found it recently as I was going through the closet. I really wish I had it finished for this year!
DSC_9025-001The alternating red and white granny squares reminds me of peppermint, which is honestly one of my favorite things about the Christmas season. I used a 5.5 mm crochet hook and Bernat Satin yarn in Crimson and Silk. This yarn is really soft, and I like the colors, but I do not like how much it splits as I work. However, I think it is a great yarn for blankets! I just made regular granny squares, alternating red and white, and used the join-as-you-go method. DSC_9036DSC_9020Hopefully next year I’ll be more prepared and take the time to finish it! I think it will be a wonderful blanket to bring out at the holidays!

Three Crochet Pillows Finished!

My cousin’s wedding is this Saturday, and I just finished her third pillow! I really love the way they all turned out and how nice they all look together! I’m excited to see how she uses them this weekend.

I used this pattern from Little Tin Bird to make the squares. They are very easy and quick to make. The squares alone were not big enough to fit the 14in x 14in pillow I had, so I added a thicker border around the edge. I did one round of half double crochet in black, a round of single crochet in cream and the final round of half double crochet in black. DSC_8957You can read more about the others pillows here and here! All three pillows were easy to make, and I think they are the perfect way to decorate any space. You can easily customize any of the pillows to fit in your home’s decorations. DSC_8960Shared at Link & Share Wednesday Party at Oombawka Design Crochet

 

Big Snowflake Garland!

This will be my first year without snow in five years! I didn’t think I would miss it when I moved back to Florida from Utah, but I was actually pretty jealous when I heard Utah had its first snow a couple weeks ago. So, to make up for my lack of real snow, I have been busy making snowflakes! I’ve made little snowflake garlands the past couple of years, but this year I made a garland full of giant snowflakes! I LOVE the way it turned out!

DSC_8939I chose a snowflake pattern out of this book. I bought it last year and I really love all of the patterns! I used a size 5.omm hook and Lily’s Sugar ‘n Cream Cotton in white. I looked for snowflakes in the book that measure 3in or more when made in crochet thread to get a big snowflake when I used the cotton. DSC_8944The snowflakes can be a little wrinkly when you’re finished, but I found that just ironing them on low heat for a few seconds helps them lay flat. I chained them together and worked a single crochet to connect each snowflake. You can make it as long as you want by adding or taking away chains between each snowflake.DSC_8931Now I just need to make about a hundred more so I feel like I’m back in Utah! I’d love to see pictures if you make your own pretty garlands!Remember to follow me on Instagram (@lizzie_bella_) and Twitter (@lizziebellablog).

Isaac Mizrahi

Somehow I missed that Isaac Mizrahi was creating a yarn line for Michaels. As a huge Project Runway fan, I was excited to check it out! I wasn’t super excited about the colors when looking at it on the website, but I decided to take a trip to Michaels to see it anyway. IMG_5693.JPGI usually really don’t like variegated yarn. I don’t know why, but I just really hate it. I’m still not a huge fan of most of the color combinations, but there were a couple I really liked. Also, I watched this video on YouTube of Isaac Mizrahi, and I fell in love with the scarf he was holding and decided I had to make it. So, I ended up bringing home 4 skeins of the Sutton yarn in YorkDSC_8718I found the pattern here on the Michael’s website. It was really quick and easy to make, and I love how long and thick it turned out. I’m also really happy with the fringe! I’ve tried adding fringe to other scarves before, and it just looked bad, so I’m really excited that this looks good! Too bad it is still in the 80s here in Florida. We still have a while until it is cold enough to wear this!DSC_8739Overall, I really like the yarn! I love the colors and the way they look in the scarf. One thing I don’t love about the yarn is how much it sheds. I do think it is a little expensive, but I definitely would like to try more!DSC_8744I haven’t tried any of the other Isaac Mizrahi yarn yet, but so far, I’m impressed!

October is here!

octoberI am so excited it is finally October! Fall is my favorite season, and Halloween is my favorite holiday, so October is my favorite month! I just wish it was starting to cool down a little here in Florida. I got a little taste of cool weather when I was in Utah last week, and I wish I could have brought the fall weather home with me.

Currently…

Reading: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. I am in a book club with a few friends, and this is the current book. I love reading books about the South, and this one has been great so far! I like the way it is broken up into different perspectives, and I’m interested to see how it ends. We like to do different activities for each book, so this week we are planning on watching the movie and making a dessert from the back of the book!

Listening: The Avett Brothers. I am still listening to the Avett Brothers! They have so many songs though, that I am always rediscovering songs that become my favorite for a while. Right now, I’m really loving Salina. This version is the best!

Watching: Fall TV. I am unusually excited about fall TV this year. There are a few new shows I am excited about, and some old ones I’ve been looking forward to returning. Some new ones that I like so far are How to Get Away With Murder and Manhattan Love Story. I really liked the first episodes of both, so I’m excited to see how they go! Some returning shows I’m really excited about are The Big Bang Theory, New Girl, Scandal and Nashville. I did not expect to like Nashville as much as I do, but I really love it. And New Girl is the funniest show on TV right now in my opinion!

Missing: My sister. I loved getting to see Hannah last week, and I miss having her home. I’m excited for everything she’s been able to do in Utah, but I wish I got to see her more. I miss being able to go to her games, but I love that we can still watch them here through the computer.

Wanting: Halloween! I love Halloween, and I’m excited for it to be close. I haven’t been home for Halloween in five years, so it’s nice to be here. I do wish it was cooler, but I’m excited to be with my little cousins this year. My mom loves Halloween, and we always had the best decorated house!

Loving: Pumpkins! I’m excited that pretty soon there will be pumpkin flavored everything! My sister made pumpkin bread last week, and it made me so happy that it’s fall! Pumpkin cookies are just about my favorite and I’m thinking of making a batch today!

The past couple of months have been way busier than I anticipated. I feel like I haven’t had much time at all to crochet or work on the blog. But I have been able to work on some things, and I thought I’d share a few pictures with you.

1. Black and White Chevron BlanketDSC_8689I was hoping to be further along on this, but I do love the way it is turning out. I think my cousin will really like it. I’m almost done with the second skein of black and white yarn, and I’m pretty happy with how far I’ve been able to get with each one!DSC_86932. PumpkinsDSC_8312I got a really early start making pumpkins this year. They kill my hands, but I really, really love them! I made a giant one for my mom, and her friend has now requested one too! I’m hoping to have a proper pumpkin patch by Thanksgiving!DSC_8299DSC_84643. ScarfDSC_8712Even though it is still really warm here in Florida, I started making this scarf! I’m thinking of putting a pattern for this up soon too. I love cold weather primarily because I love wearing scarves, so that is something I’m definitely going to miss this year.DSC_8715

 

Black and White Pillows!

I finished up another pillow for my cousins’s wedding a couple weeks ago, but haven’t gotten around to blogging about it until now! Things have been busier than I anticipated the past couple of months, but I really want to be more regular with the blog. DSC_8650

This pillow is smaller than the first, but I really love the way it turned out! I love the little granny squares! and I think it looks great with the other pillow I’ve already made.DSC_8639DSC_8652I’ve started working on the third pillow, but I’m not too far along yet. I am doing solid granny squares for this one, and so far I like it! Hopefully my cousin likes it too!DSC_8678DSC_8662

I’m also still making good progress on her black and white chevron blanket! I do not usually go for black and white when I crochet, but I do like the way the chevron blanket is coming along. Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 11.49.19 AM

To see more pictures of this blanket, and other things I’m working on, you can follow me on Instagram (@lizzie_bella_) and Twitter (@lizziebellablog)!