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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Patent Leather and D'Orsay

So, for some reason, I've been on a shoe buying binge!  I've always loved patent leather, and it seems to be very in right now, especially in many colors.  Of course, I still bought black and beige, but it was fun toying with the idea of getting some pink or red ones too (Nine West has some really cute little flats in an array of colors).  It got me thinking about exactly what is patent leather, so I did a little googling to see what I could find out.  Wikipedia has a nice little article -- turns out that patent leather does start with real leather that's treated with a chemical compound to give it a high gloss finish.  Linseed oil originally was used to put on a final coating, but now plastic tends to be used.  And I also discovered that a shoe with the sides cut out, so that there's just the toe cover and the heel with nothing on the sides, is called a D'Orsay shoe (or D'Orsay flats in my case).  I love the little ankle straps even though they are a pain in the neck early in the morning when you're running out the door!  Anyway, I found a pair with the toes in black and the heels in beige (I warned you I was playing it safe with color selections :-).

Anyway, what does this have to do with crochet you ask?!  Well, in my Facebook feed, I saw some patterns for crocheted shoe clips and embellishments as well as this post for crocheted booties and slippers, and off I went, shoe shopping!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Crochet for Easter from Joyous Crafts

Last year I was fooling around with some Red Heart pink yarn and came up with my Crochet Bunny Peep pattern, available for free on Ravelry.  I was contacted by Heather, an owner of Joyous Crafts, to become the exclusive maker and seller of the bunnies on Etsy!  Aren't they wonderful?!



She hand crochets them from pure Peruvian Highland wool yarn and stuffs them with pure wool as well.  Each little peep stands 2 1/4 inches tall and 1 1/4 inches wide at the widest point.  Her Etsy listing is for a set of four little bunnies in light blue, pink, butter cream, and dusty purple.  She's also got some in acrylic yarn as well.  They are already made and ready to be shipped as soon as you buy them!  She's got so many cute items in her shop, it's really worth checking out for her sweet crochet :-)



Monday, March 3, 2014

Crochetville 2014 National Crochet Month Blog Tour

It's National Crochet Month!  It's hard to believe it's already March, and I am participating in Crochetville's blog tour again this year.  Our theme is the "Spring Garden" and if you make it to the bottom of the post, there will be a free themed crochet pattern for you to try out!

But other important matters first.  During this month, we are supporting Halos of Hope, a charity that has a simple mission -- to provide crocheted, knitted, or sewn hats to over 450 cancer centers around the country each month!  I hope you'll check out the website and consider making a hat or monetary donation (100% goes to shipping expenses).  Hats can be sent to:

Crochetville LLC
Attn:  Amy Shelton
103 Scarlet Oak Circle
Harvest AL 35749 
You may send your hats to:
Crochetville LLC
ATTN: Amy Shelton
103 Scarlet Oak Circle
Harvest, AL 35749
- See more at: http://crochetville.com/national-crochet-month-2014-designer-blog-tour/#sthash.sEHToQ8l.dpuf
You may send your hats to:
Crochetville LLC
ATTN: Amy Shelton
103 Scarlet Oak Circle
Harvest, AL 35749
- See more at: http://crochetville.com/national-crochet-month-2014-designer-blog-tour/#sthash.sEHToQ8l.dpuf
You may send your hats to:
Crochetville LLC
ATTN: Amy Shelton
103 Scarlet Oak Circle
Harvest, AL 35749
- See more at: http://crochetville.com/national-crochet-month-2014-designer-blog-tour/#sthash.sEHToQ8l.dpuf
You may send your hats to:
Crochetville LLC
ATTN: Amy Shelton
103 Scarlet Oak Circle
Harvest, AL 35749
- See more at: http://crochetville.com/national-crochet-month-2014-designer-blog-tour/#sthash.sEHToQ8l.dpuf

In honor of Crochet Month and Crochetville's Spring Garden theme, I've been working on a baby-sized version of  Melissa Leapman's Flowers in a Row afghan, available on the Red Heart website at this link.  I decided to make the cuddle blanket in a chunky weight yarn with a J hook:



I'm about to send off the finished project to the mother, but I guess she'll be getting a preview of it here ;-).

Also in celebration, I'm offering 20% off any pattern in my Ravelry store, just use the promotion code NatCro2014 (no minimum purchase required).

Here is a little taste of my style and how I write patterns.  This free square pattern is actually the center part of a larger, more intricate square that I've worked up in a DK weight yarn and that should be available in my Ravelry shop in the next month or two.  For this square, I used the leftover chunky yarn from the baby blanket, and it ended up measuring a healthy 6 inches across.





Materials Needed
• Blue Sky Worsted Cotton:  Hyacinth (Color A) and Pickle (Color B) (150 yd/100 g)
• Crochet hook size I/9/5.50 mm

Abbreviations
beg = beginning
ch = chain
dc = double crochet
hdc = half double crochet
RS = right side
sc = single crochet
sl st = slip stitch
st = stitch

ROUND 1 • (RS): With Color A, ch 8, join; ch 2, 24 dcs in circle, sl st to top of first dc.

ROUND 2 • Ch 1, 1 sc in same st, [ch 5, skip 2 sts, 1 sc in next st] 7 times, ch 5, sl st to top of first sc.

ROUND 3 • [Sl st into next loop, ch 2, 5 dcs into loops, ch 2, sl st into loop] 8 times, sl st to first petal, fasten off.

ROUND 4 • With Color B, join yarn in center st of a petal, ch 1, 1 sc in same st and next st, ch 3, 1 sc in first st of next petal, 1 hdc in next st, 3 dcs in next st, 1 hdc in next st, 1 sc in next st (corner created), ch 3, 1 sc in second st of next petal, 1 sc in next 2 sts (center 3 sts of petal) (side created); continue around, creating 3 more corners and sides, sl st to top of first sc.

ROUND 5 • Ch 2, 1 dc in same st, *1 dc in next st, 3 dcs in ch-3 space below, 1 dc in next 3 sts until corner, (1 dc, ch 2, 1 dc) in next st, (should be center st of corner 3 dcs), 1 dc in next 3 sts, 3 dcs in ch-3 below, repeat from * around, 1 dc in last st, sl st to top of first dc.

ROUND 6 • Ch 2, 1 dc in same st, [ch 1, skip next st, 1 dc in next st] 4 times, (ch1, 1 dc, ch 3, 1 dc, ch 1) in corner, 1 dc in next st, [ch 1, skip next st, 1 dc in next st] 8 times, repeat around, sl st to first dc.

ROUND 7 • Ch 1, ch 1, 1 sc in same st, [1 sc in ch-1 below, 1 sc in next st] until corner, [1 sc in ch-1 sp below, 3 scs in corner st, 1 sc in ch-1 space], 1 sc in next st, 1 sc in ch-1 space around, sl st to top of first sc, fasten off.
~~~~~~~


So, I hope you have a wonderful March and get in lots of crochet!  I hope to be back on a more regular blogging schedule soon -- thanks to all the well wishes you've sent regarding my mom's recovery.  She's had a set back or two, but slowly, she is doing better and better :-)

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Mother Petunia

Yes, Petunia has given birth!  Unfortunately, she had a really hard delivery, with both lambs having to be pulled.  The first one didn't make it.  But here is her lovely surviving lamb, which Petunia is mothering beautifully.  The vet said she should have a much better time of it next year. 




I'm awaiting Petunia's wool to be spun into yarn!  I decided to go with worsted weight this year and of course have no idea yet what I will make with it.  I've still got many skeins of Princess' yarn in chunky weight, and I think this Viviana Crocheted Vest would be the perfect project for it.  Any suggestions for more projects?!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Naked Petunia

My new sheep Petunia has been shorn!  Looks like she had quite the coat on her:





Just got word from (and photos courtesy of) Caroline Owens of Owens Farm that, despite the extreme cold followed by driving rain followed by howling winds, Petunia yielded about 4.5 lbs after skirting.  I've decided to once again let the mill turn the fleece into yarn for me, and I hope to have some worsted weight yarn on its way soon.




Poor Petunia, there's still quite a bit of winter left to go!




I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the bulky weight yarn I've still got from Princess.  I think this Viviana Crocheted Vest pattern would be an awesome use for it!  But, first, I've got to get started on, and finish, a baby blanket that I've been wanting to make from Melissa Leapman's "Flowers in a Row" afghan pattern, available on the Red Heart website.



Mama update:  She's doing better, though a bit of a set back when she ended up getting dehydrated, which seemed to lead to too low blood pressure, so off to the emergency room we went.  But, hopefully, she will be back in rehab early next week and back on the right track!

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Stroke

of genius? of luck?  No, unfortunately, a real one (funny that a word that usually indicates something good also stands for something really bad).  My mom had a stroke on December 15th, and it's been rough going since.  But, I think there has been progress, and she just got sent to rehab so hopefully I will have good news to report.

Unfortunately, I might not be posting as much as usual, but I hope you will stick with me because I will be striving for even better quality content this year.  Events like this do make one step back and think about the what-ifs and wants in life.  It's easy to say that one wants health, wealth, and happiness, but what does that really mean?!  Well, here are my definitions and goals for 2014 (no more resolutions, they don't last):

Health:  a silver lining to my stay with Mom in ICU was that I lost probably 5 to 10 pounds (don't really know, haven't had a chance to weigh myself, but my pants are loose!).  I feel better, and I feel as though my eating habits are returning to a good place for me (I was eating way too big portions of my husband's very tasty but rich food).  That's the good news; the bad is that I have not been getting any exercise.  I hope to address that as soon as I get back on some type of work/visitation/take care of Phyllis schedule.  I'm realizing how important it is that I figure out how to keep myself in good shape because I'm not going to be of any use to Mom if I don't (you hear this advice, but it takes a while to really sink in).

Wealth:  Money is a great thing to have, and I hope to figure out ways to become enhance my financial wealth of course, but although trite, money can't buy experiences and time.  I'm so fortunate to be wealthy with friends and colleagues who are allowing me the luxury of being able to spend time with Mom and to ensure that she's got the best patient advocate she can have and that she's getting what she needs to make the best recovery possible.  I really want 2014 to be about spending quality time and effort in making happy memories, it's really all we have.

Happiness:  I haven't been able to crochet during this time -- I really don't want to do it at the hospital and have it associated with this terrible experience because I love to crochet so much.  But I keep having great ideas pop into my head, which I jot down to think about later.  I think once I know that Mom is truly on the mend, I'll be able to get back to my creative endeavors.  This experience, though, has gotten me thinking about what activities truly make me happy and which ones should move further down my priority list.  Over the next several months I anticipate having to face these cold, hard questions, but I believe if I keep in mind another trite message -- you only live once (at least in this consciousness) -- I'll be able to figure out what I should be doing with my time and what will need to wait.

So, I hope all my readers have had a healthy, wealthy and happy start to 2014 and that it all continues throughout the year!  I hope to be blogging more frequently again soon.  Thank you for your thoughts and well wishes.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Holidays

We'll, it is that time of year again. So hard  to believe how fast this year has gone by. Usually I do a reflection back over the year by going to an early post in which I've listed my goals and seeing how I've done. But I'm actually posting fromy new iPhone :-) and am still figuring things out. Plus, unfortunately, I am at the hospital because a family member is having a health issue. So in many ways this experience is putting things into perspective as I figure out what the next few months will be like. Enjoy your holidays, embrace the good in life, and I will return when I can with, hopefully, good news.