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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. โค

*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 ๐Ÿ™‚


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 โค

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. โค

Oh, Nativity


Hello and Happy…!

I know that I promised you a mini-stocking this week.

But I gave them all away and forgot to take a picture. My hope is to make more, and do a cute photo shoot– but it IS Christmas week and I will have to see how the time goes.

In the meantime, my husband and I ran away to our favorite BnB (bed and breakfast) this week for a little RnR (rest and relaxation). ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I have found that a short get-away significantly increases my enjoyment of the holiday season and finds me much more peaceful during the inevitable stress and family squabbles.

We had a fabulous twenty-four hours, and capped it off with a little antique-ing, browsing several local shops and enjoying the time spent.

And I found something so marvelous! I entreated my sweet husband to capture it on film so I could share it with you. Well, digital, anyway, since he has a smart phone…

The most fabulous crochet nativity! And in such colorful thread…I love nativities, and every year I browse patterns and consider making one. I haven’t found the time yet, but one of these years…


I had him take several close-ups so that I can reverse-engineer the patterns. I love Mary’s braids!


I think the angel is my favorite. I love angels.


A detailed close-up of the angel halo and wing. A simple wagon wheel and shell.


And the sweet babe, wrapped in a solid granny square, on a double granny cushion.


Not crochet-related, I also had him capture the lovely embroidery on this old lampshade. I often add a bit of sewing detail to my projects.


And last but not least, the special project I have been working on instead of making more mini-stockings– a last-minute request for a one-of-a-kind Christmas dress for a real-live little angel.


I used this Bernat pattern as a base

but worsted-weight yarn (Caron Sparkle) and an H hook (5mm). Since the pattern called for an E hook and sport-weight yarn, it ended up coming out as a size 18-24 months when I followed the instructions for the 6 month size. Perfect!

For the trim (hem and sleeves), I used the edging found here:


I also made the flower pattern listed in the blog above for the accent rose. I gave it a Christmas-y twist by chaining 2 or 3 stitches mid-petal (3hdc, ch-2, 3hdc) for example. This made the petals a bit pointy, more like a poinsettia.


I can’t wait to see pictures of her in it! I love making dresses.

May you have a blessed Christmas, and be surrounded by love, regardless of circumstances. I am grateful for the Babe that came.


Until then, happy hooking!

Edging the Midwife


Hello, hello and it is almost here! If you were with us last time, you know that I am embarking on a new adventure this fall…and it officially starts next week! Our classroom is ready and we are so excited for students to arrive.

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In the meantime, I am busy putting as many little organizational tips and tricks into place as I can, to ease my family through this major transition. Meal menus, chore charts and a huge family calendar are in place! I am even planning out my future blogs so as not to neglect my lovely followers. This fall schedule is laid out and ready to go!

Today’s free pattern is a simple little edge. Nothing fancy, but it made me very happy, and I loved the nice, solid feel it gave to the blanket

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The blanket was for a sweet baby boy, soon to arrive…which was perfect, as I had been longing to try this pattern:

When I finished the blanket, which worked up so lovely and quick, it needed a little something. I experimented with several edges and decided on this one:


It’s reversible!


To work the edge:

In the stitch below any ch-1 sp, join yarn and chain 3 to start. Slip stitch in the next dc of the previous row (back loop only).

*Dc in the stitch below the chain-1 space, then slip stitch in the dc of the previous row (back loop only). Repeat from * across.

(Dc- sl st- dc- sl st- dc) around each corner.


The result? A darling peek-a-boo border in any color you like!


The froggie hat and rattle were a perfect compliment to the set.

See here for tips on how to make the hat:


The blanket ended up snuggly-soft and the perfect size for a new little one. I made it small and light as it had to travel by air to its soon-to-be-owner, packed securely in the luggage of the daddy-to-be!


Up next…the third installment of this series, a photo tutorial for a darling baby-soft rattle toy.


See you soon! And happy hooking!

Toad-ally Awesome


Hello and hello!

Today is rather momentous in our little corner of the world here at The Sparkly Toad.

It is the last of our Tuesday afternoon posts.

I have made a bit of a change, you see. This time next week, I shall wear a different hat.


You likely know (and appreciate) one or more various mothers, and all that they do. Cook, clean, garden, shop…I’ve often said that as a stay-at-home-mom it would be nice to have a cook, butler, maid and gardener! And let’s not forget chauffeur!

Nearly twenty years of it…it was the toughest job I ever loved. As they say: the days were long, but the years were short.


And so I embark on an adventure never before seen in our little family…mama is going to work. Not just a job, either…a career!

The only downside (if there is one) is that I must give up my current position as stay-at-home/daycare-providing/homeschooling mom.

As much as I have loved pouring the majority of my time and energy into my family and seeing the excellent results, I am excited to have something new for me! I am going to be a teacher.

A real one. ๐Ÿ™‚


I am not sure I quite believe it yet. I’ve never had a career. And I have yet to determine where the ‘Toad posts fit into my new weekly schedule. I’ve been contemplating it most of the summer…narrowed it down to Sunday, Tuesday or perhaps Friday evening. We’ll see!

I make no promises. It is likely the transition will drain every creative bit of energy out of me for a minimum of six weeks. Or more.

So if you don’t hear from me for a spell, now you know.


And enough of that. Onto today’s free pattern…

Newborn Frog Hat (Eyes)

With green yarn: 12 dc

In white: 12 hdc

Black button

Sew all three layers together, then attach to hat. It can be a trick to sew pieces together, especially when you want them to stand up. I take large stitches at the base of the eye (or ear) and that seems to do it. I also curve the piece in slightly and sew along it twice, across and then back again.

Hat base: I use Sarah’s basic hat pattern for all my hats. Her pattern can be found here:


I love the clarity and simplicity of her patterns. I will warn you, I probably used half-double-crochet, not double crochet on my hat.

I do that without even meaning to.


I made this set for a friend that was headed out of the country, or perhaps I would have embroidered a pink smile on Mr. Frog. It was a bit of a rush to finish all three pieces before his flight.


Wishing every blessing on the birth of their upcoming baby…and happy hooking to all of you!

I hope to write again soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

Giant Granny Goodness, Part II


Hello, hello and happy…well, you know. ๐Ÿ™‚

My giant grannies are coming along nicely! In fact, I am on a bit of a crochet jag and have started a dozen projects– or more– in recent weeks. Oh, my, I am having fun! And I haven’t skimped on the housework; in fact, I am also on an organizing crusade and attacking areas that have been neglected for, well, maybe years?

I am simply on a color spree: combining, mixing, matching, layouts, rainbows, ombre, triads, contrasts…it is a good thing I have a bit of a container fetish, because my cleaning frenzy means more empty bins to collect my color nonsense and project dreams.

Here’s the one for the grannies, rounds 7-12 or so:


I tend to be a bit matchy-matchy…so the challenge of putting dissimilar colors adjacent entertains me particularly.

The lovely afternoon sun…my favorite time to crochet.


A trio of riotous color contrast:

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And the real challenge begins! A preliminary layout:


The burning question…how many more rounds???


I like it as is, but it isn’t very afghan-size, yet…only about 3×3.


Twenty rounds– my original plan– will be too much?

Perhaps fifteen. And then a kitschy border, for certain!ย ย ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰


The more garish color to chew, the better! So rainbow-y and satisfying.


And just for fun– my little crochet-hinderer, below. I was able to complete my latest set of rounds because she went off to the neighbor’s and asked to bake something. ๐Ÿ™‚ My sweet neighbor was happy to comply and home she came, several hours later, with yummy chocolate treats to boot. Happy summer!


An update on another project, too…the edge is finished, and the little gift set sewn!


For blanket information, see here:

And for the dress pattern:

Happy day!

Bitty Baby Dolly Dresses and Suits {{30 Days of Christmas Crochet Cuteness}}



Still working on these sweet outfits for a special Christmas gift. I have loved mulling over the design, and even the trial and error of stitch-counting, usually my least favorite part, ugh! I don’t have enough green for a fuller skirt…or the time for a denser stitch, still, I am pleased with the result.

Here is the photo that inspired the project:



Several embellishments yet to add…this will be the fun part! I have colored buttons and lots of scrap thread. ๐Ÿ™‚ I might make little strings of lights for the tree, or maybe some bows…we’ll see!

Can’t wait to show you the finished project.

Happy hooking! Or in my case today, embroidering!

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Also I am so looking forward to writing out these two patterns to share with all of you! They will make wonderful Christmas gifts…for NEXT year! ๐Ÿ˜‰

My sale site of choice will be, I am excited to upload to my library…after the holiday rush! โค

Giving Thanks and Baby Hats


Hellooooo Monday! Always nice to get back to my routine of cleaning and cooking after a weekend busy with outings and retail. The holiday shopping is picking up, for sure! I am busy with custom orders for the holidays and loving every minute.

Today’s feature is two of my favorite designs from my Rescue Hero series: the police officer and firefighter photo props. So cute! And their recepients were delighted. While the actual patterns are not yet written up for publication, I am including several tips below that will have you whipping up your own version, in no time!



The Little Police Officer uses a standard diaper cover pattern (basically an hourglass shape with one end wider than the other to overlap for buttoning). The donut– so much fun to make!– was a free pattern I googled…sorry, I don’t remember which blog or I would share the link! Maybe next time…there is so much cute crochet food out there, enough for an entire series, fun!

The hat. Ah, the hat. I spent several hours researching police issue shapes to determine just the look I wanted. I ended up using a pentagon top, increasing each round until reaching the diameter I wanted. I then began the sides by crocheting in back loops only, and decreasing at each corner. Once I achieved my desired height, I switched to black and did 4-5 rounds of sc. The design of the brim I borrowed from a free newsboys cap on ravelry.

The shield is just a circle crocheted in the round with a second round of well-placed triple crochets and slip stitches for shaping. A little felt for custom lettering, and there you have it!

Screenshot_2013-11-23-00-24-03ย So sweet!

ย I think he likes it! Now…




The Little Firefighter: the hat is an octogon with fpdc at the corners for ridges, increasing proportionally each round. I switched to triple crochet at the back for the elongated brim, turning for a last row or two just on the back.

I used acrylic worsted weight yarn and an H hook.

I hope this inspires you to try your own designs!

Happy Thanksgiving! I am excited to post my tabletop turkey later this week, I hope I finish in time for the holiday! ๐Ÿ™‚