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. ❤

Collection of Cuteness

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We finally have some significant snowfall here in the Midwest.

The spirit-breaking cold gave way to a few teaser days of warm (think fifty degrees following two weeks of negative five!) And then 36 hours of light, fluffy, pretty white stuff…

I decorate my home with the cutest little guys after Christmas– snowmen!

Gets me through until spring.

So as a tribute to the fluffy white stuff, here are some darling free patterns to make your own out of yarn. 🙂

Top Five Cutest Snowmen ❤

1. First, a classic from an amazing designer. Excellent free patterns and a multitude of adorable creations. I just love her work.

http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2013/11/crochet-snowman-pattern.html

2. Another great source for free patterns– Amigurumi Today. I made my first amigurumi, a little hippo, from this website. I love this guy’s earmuffs!

https://amigurumi.today/christmas-crochet-free-crochet-snowman-pattern/

3. This next one is so clever. I just love the look of this snowman afghan. What a fun design!

http://www.crochetforyoublog.com/2014/12/crochet-snowman-granny-square-and-blanket-pattern/

4. Or how about this one? A cup cozy! Quick and easy, this makes a fun gift or office accessory.

http://enchanted-ladybug.com/2016/11/free-crochet-snowman-coffee-cup-cozy-pattern.html

5. And finally, a flat one! No, he hasn’t melted, he’s an applique. 🙂 So cute for a blanket, stocking or garland. Also from Repeat Crafter Me…crochet away!

http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2017/11/crochet-snowman.html

I hope you’ve enjoyed our little adventure today! Snuggling on my couch with hook and yarn, watching the snow fall, is my favorite winter past-time.

Happy hooking!

New and Old

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I think I can breathe again.

Holiday madness (both work and at home) gave way to birthday festivities for two of four children and the gaggle of teens has just left the building…

My few hours of quiet are welcome. I thought they might never return. 🙂

Goodness knows we all need a bit of quiet and time of reflection; what better way to ring in the new?

New year, new hopes, new possibilities…

It was a good year here at the ‘Toad! Business gained traction and I learned new skills, gained many happy customers and found time to enjoy my day-job and family as well.

So here we are…the year in pictures. ❤

*Note: pattern links are not included. Many of my items are reverse-engineered, meaning I looked at a picture and made up the pattern myself. Photo captions include the necessary key words to Google a similar pattern, if you would like to make your own!

January

V-stitch hat

Virus shawl blanket

Temperature blanket

Baby Snowman hat

February

Beginning the Viking (had to design my own horns!)

The mermaid tail

Bumblebee baby gifts

Chromium star

The car blanket

More Viking…the beard

And the helmet

March

Pink monkey

Finished the Chromium star

April- no crochet 🙂

May

Started the little lion ripple

The sea turtle afghan

Beautiful shells for a sweet baby boy

And finished the Viking!

June

Created the little lion

Finished the sea turtles

And the ripple

And a baby fox set

July

A granny hexie of scrap yarn for me

Family items that needed repair

August

Twinkle Toes the unicorn

And a long-legged cat

September

An elephant teether

Candy corn hat

Infant pretties

A toy elephant

Hats for the bazaar

And another lion, so cute!

October

Monkey legs

Monster hats

Finished product!

More hats for the bazaar

A little pumpkin

Phew! Nearly there…

November

A little leaf for the pumpkin

A Christmas tree skirt

December

Monkey hat!

Kitty and a panda

Pastel monkeys

V-stitch bun hat

A Labrador retriever

And a baby white-tailed deer set with removable ruffle and bow ❤

Well, that’s a wrap, folks! How nice to see the year in review, as I often feel I haven’t accomplished much crochet time. I’d best get to work, as I have more monkeys to make!

A blessed New Year to you, and happy crocheting. ❤

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. ❤

Twinkle Twinkle

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Happy Wednesday!

I don’t know about you, but I just love it when a pattern turns out the first time.

Even better, it’s free!

http://blog.hobbycraft.co.uk/twinkle-toes-the-unicorn-crochet-pattern/

This little guy was a breeze to whip up, and is absolutely darling.

I plan to make at least a dozen more!

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Gathering my colors, the owner-to-be requested a very specific pallette. 🙂

Just the head finished, but look at that face…

I do love a well-written pattern. No time wasted here!

And a rainbow mane, of course. He is a unicorn, is he not?

Styling tip: I used my yarn needle to separate the strands and create the hair.

And finished.

Off to his forever home with a sweet girl.

My gratitude to the generous designer of this quality, free pattern!

Yarn cuteness. And child joy.

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Happy hooking!

All about hats

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It’s craft fair season!

Business is booming here at the ‘Toad. Christmas gift orders have arrived in spades, and invites to participate in local booths and holiday bazaars.

Best of all, two nearby gift shops have asked for my work!

As I said, a busy season.

My fingers are churning out as quickly as they can around my already full family schedule. ❤ Best to keep things in order of importance, always.

Sweet, simple hats fit the bill.

Starting with the basic pattern here:

http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2013/01/crochet-bunny-hat-pattern.html

I’ve designed a half dozen cute new hats to fill our local shelves and keep precious small heads warm this winter.

A delicious cluster-stitch variety and v-stitch with removable button flower

Stripey boys hats, a spiral-space design and a pretty puff stitch version

A darling double-crochet with big-button panache and a fpdc, bpdc finish.

And a little something seasonal to finish it off! Pattern coming soon…

Phew, it’s been a busy few weeks. And warm! Cooler temperatures have finally returned and I look forward to my upcoming couch-and-yarn time.

I think this is my favorite. ❤ Until I design the next one. 🙂

Happy hooking! Until we meet again!