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. ❤


New and Old


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!


V-stitch hat

Virus shawl blanket

Temperature blanket

Baby Snowman hat


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


Pink monkey

Finished the Chromium star

April- no crochet 🙂


Started the little lion ripple

The sea turtle afghan

Beautiful shells for a sweet baby boy

And finished the Viking!


Created the little lion

Finished the sea turtles

And the ripple

And a baby fox set


A granny hexie of scrap yarn for me

Family items that needed repair


Twinkle Toes the unicorn

And a long-legged cat


An elephant teether

Candy corn hat

Infant pretties

A toy elephant

Hats for the bazaar

And another lion, so cute!


Monkey legs

Monster hats

Finished product!

More hats for the bazaar

A little pumpkin

Phew! Nearly there…


A little leaf for the pumpkin

A Christmas tree skirt


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. ❤

giant granny goodness entire


She is finished!

It’s a nice feeling of accomplishment, when you consider the piles of WIPs everywhere around here… actually completing something…

It started here: 


And then grew to here:


Inspired by the lovely colorwork of this dear designer:

She grew, and grew, until it was time to join…


And now she graces a place of honor, our marriage bed.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” ~Keats

My color tips:

She started out as a stash-buster, so I used various odds and ends and combined as I liked. After ten rounds, I needed a significant amount for each round, so had more limited options. I also wanted to bring the colors together somehow, without looking too contrived.

So the final five rounds match the first five, in each square. It gave nice continuity but didn’t appear overly planned.

Nothing easier than a granny square! And I love the vintage look.

I used worsted weight yarn and an h hook.

Happy hooking!


Finished Fabulous Flowers


She’s done, she’s done!
I managed to complete an actual afghan…it hasn’t been that long– I did the Hawaiian Volcano not that long ago– but it feels like ages…
I even finished in time to gift it for Christmas. Pretty sure that hasn’t happened before. 😀

And here she is, The African Queen. She ended up too large to fit her all in one photo!



My sweet friend loved it.
To see her from the beginning, start here: https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/protea-or-osteospermum-the-lovey-african-flower/


It is so soft and pretty (and washable!) May it bring her many hours of warmth and comfort. ☺


More to come …on birthday cakes …and then, a new project!

Happy hooking!


Oh Dear and Aha!


I’m having one of those moments.

A bit sheepish and disgruntled.

I just had the most marvelous idea…about a project, of course…but the beauty of sheer simplicity means I have wasted dozens of hours crocheting work I will now proceed to rip out.

I can do it.

I will forgive myself and move on…

I mentioned in this post


I was planning to rework this afghan



And then tonight, sorting pictures, I realized that THIS photo (below) looks exactly like the blanket I was making in my head.


Instead of adding rounds of granny color


All I needed to do was single crochet the strips together.



I shall do so directly.

Let the holiday season begin.

Please feel free to chime in your opinion as to colored granny stripes or no…


I have the most fabulous mini-stocking ornament pattern to share with you next week.

On a personal note: my beloved grandmother passed away last week and we will be celebrating her life with family and friends tomorrow. I thank you for your thoughts and prayers.



Circling Lovlies, Part II


I have been distracted by other projects (imagine that!) and neglected to give you the long-promised update on my Circle Of Friends afghan.

It was back in October I first shared with you:

Circling Lovlies with TheSparklyToad

I promised squares from the circles for the very next week…and then I was of on another tangent crochet adventure or two and did not return…until now.IMG_5240

And I have such cheerful news. I bought a little camera!

I have had a nightmare of dead and dying technology around here, that left me nice-new-tablet-, old-used-iPod- and digital-camera-less. Awful!

I prefer us to be a frugal, low-tech family, so I really tried to make a go of it without…but to not be able to take ANY PICTURES AT ALL was really too much for this mother.

It is my eldest’s final year in school, after all. She plans to attend university next fall, and you can imagine how many LAST school things I was longing to capture as we go along.

I caved and bought the camera a few weeks back. I am having a bit of a love-hate relationship with it, as it isn’t as nice as my previous one, and I can’t seem to get the right combination of lighting and shutter — it doesn’t seem to have adjustable speed and the flash is much too harsh. At least to please me…I am a bit particular…

Hopefully I will learn a few tricks. I have yet to read the directions. 🙂 If it turns out to be the camera, not operator-error, well…then perhaps it will be visiting the dustbin!

Now, onto the lovelies…

I just love this pattern, and the satin gloss of the Caron Simply Soft highlights it beautifully. I think I used my E hook (3.5mm) for this one.

If you’d like the free pattern, it is here:


I do love Priscilla Hewitt designs. They are always so nice and texture-y, but never too tricky. Just double-crochet and single in this one! Can you believe it?


Pretty, pretty, pretty.

I bought a half-dozen skeins of light grey for joining. Now to toss around which method to use: flat-braid is a little too fancy, and also too flimsy for these thick, dense squares. Plain double-crochet might be nice, but can I make myself complete that many boringly-same stitches??? Likely not…perhaps granny clusters…or something else I haven’t thought of yet.

I must experiment. How fun!

Off to bed for me, a busy day tomorrow.

Lovely crochet blessings to you.


The Perfect All Hallows’ Eve



Hello and Happy…Halloween!

The weather is just miserable for trick-or-treating,

and just perfect for crochet!

The moment I am done with this post you will find me snuggled under a pile of blankets with hook in hand. 🙂

And, adding happiness to happiness…

I have a new CAMERA!!! Sqeeeeeeeeeee…

I have despaired of ever hearing back from the tablet repair shop (the third shop I’ve tried, mind you). That optimistic estimate of two days turned into a call a week later– us to them, not the other way around!– only to hear, “Oh, we haven’t started on it yet, still waiting for a cable,” WHAT?!?

So I capitulated to my need to record precious family moments and shelled out the cash for an inexpensive digital model. Sigh of relief. The blog continues.

Even more happy news: we got to see our precious twins this week! Well, the children did. They stopped by to visit while I was at work, but the children were home from school and, oh, happy reunions all around.

Their daddy was here to request a repair job on a hat they had. Not my work, I always sew my ends in TIGHT (well, except for that rainbow daisy afghan but I learned my lesson on that one, now didn’t I?)


I easily saw where it had come apart, but could I re-crochet the loops or was it a sewing job? I did manage to hook and loop it back together, hurrah! They will be so pleased.

It is the most darling owl hat. I use this pattern when I make them:


Fun with the new camera: I just love this shot I caught of my V-Stitch, playing with settings on my new camera. COLOR.


Updates on a few projects hanging around the house…oh, bliss!

  1. The African Queen

With just a few rounds to go, I have decided to scrap this design and rework it as hexagons instead of strips. I don’t like it as it is, and I don’t think the intended recipient will either. Stay tuned for a colorful mass of hexies, reworked…

See more of her story here:



Some fun options for making your own hexagons and African flower motifs:





2) The South Bay Shawlette in gorgeous fall colors

I am in a bit of Unforgettable frenzy…I made a special trip to the city a few weeks ago and bought a dozen skeins of color I can’t get in town: Stained Glass, Echo, Sunrise and Polo.

This is Sunrise, with a J hook:


Pattern here:



Just gorgeous.

3) Priscilla Hewitt’s Polka Dot Stockings

My third daughter picked her colors for these…I have hopes of making one for each family member, but after two evenings of trying to assemble them, my hopes are rather dashed that I will be able to complete even one. I need to google this…the toe just isn’t quite right and the directions on assembly are little or no help.


Pattern here, let me know if you figure it out: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/polka-dot-christmas-stocking


4) And the owl hat, all fixed up!

Isn’t it precious?

DSCN0027 DSCN0039

Happy Halloween! I am off to crochet. 😀