Sunny Summer days

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Ah, happy summer. Filled with swimming and sweating, treats and crunching snacks, sibling spats and sudden sweetness and just plain family TIME.

My favorite things.

I’ve crocheted just a little, after a nice long break to regain my bearings and rest my hands and head.

The self-striping mandala yarns –that are all the rage– proved too, too tempting and I found myself the owner of several mismatched shades. Who can resist those glorious colorways?

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The challenge with one skein is always the dreaded question: but will it be enough?

I promise, with my favorite quick work-ups, it is. For this I used my go-to favorite toddler pattern, the French Popover. Find the link here:

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/mais-oui/

I hope you are enjoying our warm days and summer season as well, or whatever your weather may be this time of year. Happy hooking!

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Time

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Today’s post is more announcement than crochet.

It has been a banner season for the ‘Toad. A good one. And after a flurry of activity, growth and profit, what is a business owner to do?

A bit of a rest is in order.

The well of creativity is run nearly dry. A brief sabbatical will fix that right up!

So the ‘Toad will be on hiatus pending several factors.

First, I shall treat myself to several neglected personal projects.

My 2017 Weather Afghan:

2) Several Sophie’s Universe

3) And something with these beauties

I shall begin at least one new project– probably more! 🙂

And finish a few special requests for friends, as gifts.

Last, but not least,

I shall reflect upon and evaluate the nature of my business.

Creativity, or profit? Design or production? Will I finally publish a few patterns? Or perhaps take the blog a new direction? We shall see!

Happy crocheting!

Let it snow. ❤

From Turkeys to Reindeer

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I love Christmas.

Everywhere I look, the world has turned itself inside-out to decorate in honor of our savior’s birth. I love the music. The lights. The stories.

When I was a child, it could never come fast enough. Now it seems so short.

Blink, and we’ve gone from August to December with a major holiday per month. Goodness!

So it is with a little sadness I pack up my turkeys.

And break out the Christmas cheer!

Though I still have several holiday orders pending, I indulged myself in a day of rest– and crochet design– over the long weekend.

Inspired by an overload of classic Christmas movies, I found myself compelled to make something, anything, holiday-ish while putting my feet up one evening off. Pre-Thanksgiving grocery retail is no joke!

I found some reds and greens, a little gold, and a picture on Pinterest that suited my mood exactly, so away I went!

I started with red pentagons.

Joining as I went, because who likes sewing when you can crochet instead?

The increase and decrease was tricky! But I managed. It would need some tweaking to fly as an actual pattern, but not bad for a from-scratch first attempt.

V-stitch decrease on the inside and a granny-stripe ripple on the outer rings.

And then there was this cutie on the infamous lap.

Happy holidays from my family to yours. May your table and hearts be full. ❤

Holiday Madness

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Fall is the crafter’s busy season! Savvy customers pre-order Christmas goodies. Yarn goes on sale, everywhere. 🙂 Blogs are full of fun holiday makes, and so is the calendar.

I did my first craft bazaar sales! We are sending a volunteer team to Pueblo, Mexico next summer and all funds raised pay toward travel expenses. I donated a few items and helped work the booth.

Hats, hat, hats 🙂

I’m also scrambling to finish holiday orders and keep things in order on the home front. Life is good.

Happy holiday crafting!

break out

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It’s been a dozen days of no crochet!

The US Capitol

I’ve been a-travelin’.

Authentic Philly Cheesesteaks for lunch, yum!

I joined our local school and took a little trip to our nation’s capitol for spring break. You haven’t lived until you’ve taken a seventeen-hour bus ride with a class full of eighth-graders…

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My daughter and I had a wonderful time.

Gettysburg, PA

The weather was chilly some days, but the crisp blue skies made for great pictures. And we had one nice day in there, too.

The Liberty Bell

The history was so meaningful. The last time I visited, I was thirteen myself! So it was fun to go with my daughter at the same age.

Smithsonian Air and Space

Now I am back, recovered, and caught up on household things…On to finishing my chromium star project for a friend! I just love how it is working up.

MLK Memorial

Washington Monument from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial

Cherry blossoms

Chromium Star 

Three colors to go! I better get crackin’.

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Happy hooking!

Maddy’s Dragon

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And now for a trip down memory lane…

It was the dog days of summer. Hot and sunny. We loaded up the in-laws minivan and headed south, then east, to grandpa’s old stomping ground.

His cousin has spent the better part of two years planning afive generation family reunion!

And here we were.

Each branch of the family tree had been assigned a color, so we topped ourselves off in red t-shirts and headed to the hall to help set up.

My husband’s sweet cousin was expecting her first child. ❤

She had messaged me months ago with the cutest little dragon Ami picture, and asked if it was something I could make?

How could I refuse? I love a challenge, and I love taking requests. 🙂

Imagine my delight when I discovered the pattern was free, on Ravelry, and my further delight when it was one of those rare gems of pattern that one so rarely finds: well-written and of the “it looks so complex but is really quite easy to make” variety.

It was a triple blessing at that point– a new baby, and a free, quite do-able pattern.

Add in a trip to actually visit relations and deliver the gift in person, and life is good!

She wanted a little dragon in pink and green…And here it is.

It turned out just darling.

Here’s the pattern link:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bb-dragon
Now for those of you who are curious, I love the in-process photos, as the creature is becoming…

We begin with the parts:

And then a few more…

Now to sew. I love this little ridgeback!

And then the arms, the legs

The eyes were amazing. I really didn’t think I could do it…And then I couldn’t believe the difference they made, once attached, in bringing the little guy to life. I confess, I hot-glued them in place… Usually I hand-stitch everything, so the item is washable.

Now for the rest: ears, horns and… nostrils! Again, it was truly amazing as this character took shape in my hands. Each detail added so much.

And finished!

What a marvelous fiber adventure.

May you be blessed and crafty today.

Happy hooking!