Spinach Chicken, a Giraffe and Some Zebras

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Hello…happy Monday! Schools here are canceled for two days due to the extreme cold. Which means a full house for us, since my brother’s children join us then, too! The cousins have been playing rapturiously and riotously all day…a little noisy, but so sweet as I well remember my own delight when school was canceled, long ago!

I have been busy with the hook…today was a bit of pattern experimentation for a special order.
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Zebra, zebra, zebra! The spike stitch was the winner, you can find the instructions here: spike crochet stitch

The middle stripe pattern is a half-double crochet with the hook inserted between the stich instead of under the v as usual. I liked the diamond shape it makes, as well as how nicely it lays.

The longer piece on the right is simply a increase/decrease pattern of single crochet rows: 3 blk, 1 wh, 2 blk, 2 wh, 1 blk, 3 wh, etc. I like that one, too. It will be fun to try in color!

And now, something special I worked on yesterday afternoon and well into the evening…
Can you guess? I haven’t done any amigurumi for a bit…so it was fun to get back to it.
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Still needs horns, and ears…but I was very happy to complete so much at once. Here is another clue:
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When it is finished I very much hope it will look something like this:
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Here is the link if you would like to see more of her lovely work:
http://willewopsie.blogspot.com/

And finally, something yummy…my sweet husband is off for the holiday and made us dinner: spinach, garlic and chicken lasagne. It smells amazing!

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You can find the recipe here: lasagne

Looking forward to a whole evening of crochet, now that my brother has arrived to collect his crew! Stay well and warm. ♡ More pretties coming this way later in the week…I have an owl afghan  design I am so eager to start! Blessings.
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Snowburst Square Pattern

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Would you like to make your own? Here it is:

Using a 9mm hook and worsted weight acrylic yarn…

Chain(ch) 4: this counts as your first dc.
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DC (double crochet), ch 1 eleven times in the ch farthest from the hook. Join with a slip stitch (sl st) at the top of the first ch 4. (12 dc around)
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Ch-2, dc for first cluster in ch-1 sp of previous round. 2-dc cluster, ch-1 around. Join. * Note: you could also just use 2dc in each space instead of a 2-dc cluster. (12 clusters)

To make a 2-dc cluster: yarn over (yo), insert hook and pull up a loop, yo and pull through two loops on hook, repeat in same ch-1 space a second time. Yo and pull through three loops on hook, one 2-dc cluster made.
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Slip stitch to ch-1 sp. Ch 3, 2 dc in ch-1sp for first 3-dc. Ch-1, 3 dc in each sp around. Join. (12 3-dc around)
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Now for the final round! We are going to put 2 clusters in each ch-1 sp twice for the side, then a 3-triple, ch 5, 3-triple in each corner…here we go:
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Now about the joining…it is join-as-you-go, and since we have a baby in the house this week, THAT is not a tutorial I will be making anytime soon. 🙂 I can tell you that you join the ch2 or ch4 of the corner ch5 for the 2nd and 3rd square, and both of those for the 4th. Hope that helps!

I did find two absolutely gorgeous patterns with lovely joins I will share with you now.
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http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/flowers-in-the-snow

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http://babylovebrand.net/2014/01/18/textured-circles-no-15/

Enjoy! Aren’t they gorgeous? Extra time to crochet is the silver lining to this chilly weather. Have a lovely day! Stay warm! ♡
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Razzle Dazzle Snowburst Squares

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Hello, I am excited to show you my progress! I have been mulling over this design for weeks now, and I think I have it!

I wanted something lacey and pretty as a backdrop for my mandala flowers.
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I am new to blocking…this wil be only my second attempt, and I think I read somewhere that acrylic yarn cannot be blocked? Oh, dear, that is all I use, so far. I did buy a jug of some starchy stuff and will let you know how it goes…

I love how it looks thus far.

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Back to it I go! Here is the link to the free pattern tutorial: http://wp.me/p44Nh4-5a
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Bursting Buttons– Preschool Snowman Craft

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We have had a busy week here in Winterland! We welcomed a new little precious into our family daycare, which means most of my time and energy is taken up easing the new family into ours as we transition. The daughters that public-school are quite jealous of our lone homeschooler this year, and with good reason:
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She is getting all the snuggles!

Keeping preschoolers engaged is always a challenge during the long winter months (it was harder before the internet, though!) One of my alltime favorites is a craft my mother used to do with us: the egg carton creatures.

You can make just about anything out of these: bugs, caterpillars, monsters, people, animals…

We gathered some pipe cleaners, glue, scrap paper and buttons. I also like to use googly eyes, those are fun!
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Then, for academic credit, we sorted buttons. First by size, then color.
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We stuck some pipe cleaners in for arms, glued buttons, cut hats and boots, and added a marker smile.
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Fun, cheap and educational! Now they are on to their free play time. Happy winter!
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Tie Dye Birthday Extravaganza

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Two January birthdays in the first two weeks of the new year! Yes, I almost miss it every time…and I’m the party planner! We had a bent-and-dent SCORE…a tie dye box mix cake for $.75…I’ve been saving it for my dolphin-loving, peace-making, big-hearted sweetie.

My little people helped with the mixing.
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We could do it without the box mix, now that we’ve done it…just white cake batter with some vibrant coloring. Pour slowly into the pan, starting with red, and it does THIS:
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After all the colors are added, tilt the pan gently to level the batter– not too much! 🙂
Bake.
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Then frost, and eat! It was so much fun. ♡
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Headwraps, Earwarmers, Crocodile Flowers– Oh, My!

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My latest frenzy? The simply gorgeous headwrap from FrayedKnot. I’ve more requests for them than I hardly can fill! I love the nice lay of the stitch. So simple, but fine and clever.

Here’s the link:
http://www.imfrayedknot.com/2012/12/30/easiest-headwrap-ever-2/

And the crocodile stitch flower:
http://bonitapatternsblog.com/

First, I made these for an order…
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Then more requests…and a little color…
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And then the children saw them and began to beg…
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And then a cousin requested teal and I dug out one of my favorite yarns…
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I so love useful things! Off to weave in some ends…
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Bursting Blooms Flower Mandala- free pattern

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Here is the pattern I created from a picture I saw…I will make a pic tutorial of the tricky parts when the children are back in school, really!
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Rnd 1: with first color, dc 12 in magic circle. Finish off.
Rnd 2: with next color, sc, ch 1 around. Finish off.
Rnd 3: with third color, sc, ch 2 around. Finish off.
Embroider crochet into first round with yet another color of your choice.
Rnd 4: Join petal color in any ch-2 sp. Ch 3, then crochet 4 dc in same to make first shell. *Sc in next sp. 5dc in next ch-2 sp. Repeat from * around. Sc in final ch 2 sp. Join with sl st to first ch 3. Finish off.
Embroider crochet in rnd 4 to create petal-shaped outline.

Weave in ends.
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Here is a video of how to embroider or surface crochet:
http://www.mooglyblog.com/surface-crochet-tutorial/

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Please add corrections or suggestions in the comment section, thank you!