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. ❤

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!

Better Than The Better Than ____ Cake!

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The month is flying by. My crochet hooks no longer recognize me, as my mind is too full and my hands too busy to give them the time they deserve.

Orders are pending and will wait a little longer, as we have some amazing adventures coming up!

We are nearing the end of my first year teaching. It is an adventure-a-minute! Graduation planning has begun.

High school graduation also looms, as well as spring trips and other end of the year class fun.

There are many firsts in my life right now…and it is all going much too quickly!

I don’t know where the time goes.

Tonight we combined several celebrations into one: we had a welcome home dinner with our returning snowbird grandparents, ate corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day, opened Easter baskets a week early due to travel plans, and celebrated two birthdays. Phew!

My precious eldest daughter turns eighteen tomorrow. To say I am unprepared for this is a massive bit of understatement. I keep asking myself, how can this be? Just a moment ago she was my sweet, terrifyingly new baby, then my darling child, then the savvy, socially conscious teen….

Her cake was a bit of an adventure. I have been busy with lessons and had little time to plan anything particularly special.

So we improvised, and it was delicious! The grandparents raved about it, and the birthday girl declared it even yummier than our favorite, the Better Than Sex cake. 🙂

High praise indeed.

Here’s what we did:

Using my Pampered Chef Trifle Bowl, I used a Jello cheesecake box mix and made the crust in the bottom.

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We then made a ring of her favorite candy bar, Twix, around the outside edge.

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Dad’s contribution was the accurate and somewhat humorous placement. It was a bit of a production. 🙂

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While he placed the bars, my junior helper began the filling mix.

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Then we put everything in the fridge to chill overnight.
In the morning, my sweet helper layered Cool Whip, cheesecake pudding filling, caramel and chocolate sauce with Milk Duds and returned it to the fridge to chill further.
She also took a few pictures of the finished product for me while I prepared for the party.

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It was delicious.

We served it with a spoon and asked our guests how many Twix they would like with their serving. 🙂 I did deny the request for 14 of them…very funny, child.

I will be making this one again! Any candy bars or topping you like would be delicious. Cake cut into chunks or fruit would make yummy additional layers.

So, until next time!

May you have a blessed holy week. ❤

Just Another Tuesday Morning

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Well, it has been quite the day around here! But all’s well that ends well.
I seem to be a day or so behind these days–my Monday blog posts have gravitated to Tuesdays, for example!– and my crochet orders are running a business day, or two, behind as well…

It is partly the weather…and the baby…and that little something inside that occasionally finds me saying yes, I will do that when perhaps NO would have been better…

In fact, when I take things into consideration, we aren’t doing too badly at all! It has been a monstrous cold winter. And the baby did just learn to crawl (helloooo, childproofing!), and I do have three part time jobs. There. I feel better just typing it out.

I have just a few sweet projects I wanted to share today! I looked forward to working on them all weekend…and then was too busy, and too tired (I know none of you can relate, certainly) and didn’t get to work until the last few hours of Sunday evening.

Once I got started, though, I made good progress!
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A giraffe I have been working on since early October…perhaps I took my customer a bit literally when she assured me there was no hurry? Nearly finished now.

And a cute character hat… (I am such a Rankin-Bass “Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer” fan– so many happy childhood holiday memories). Here is the snow beast!
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And then the ladies emailed about the chemo caps for charity– see my previous post, Gifts of Love–
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And I needed to package a sweet infant set for shipping…
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There never seems quite enough time to pay the bills, and do the shopping, and cooking, and cleaning, and I had a rather long to-do list for my honey on his morning off,

which changed the instant I stepped into the kitchen this morning. Because from somewhere in the direction of the refrigerator and microwave came the sound of rushing water quite similar to Niagra Falls!

A frozen, broken pipe: fortunately, it was an easy fix, and our kind neighbor even lent us the tools!

Thankfully, we had only a few hours without water, especially with little ones in the house.
We melted fresh snow for daddy’s morning coffee. 🙂

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So grateful for a quick, easy repair job! And kind neighbors. Life is good.