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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. ❤

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Jingly the Christmas Elf

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I’m always so pleasantly surprised when a project turns out. You would think I might have more confidence in my skill at this point, wouldn’t you? Ah, but you haven’t seen the totes-full-of-failures in my basement, now have you? This blog is a bit like Facebook, just the best ten percent of my successful work.And here is today’s featur:e

My darling girl said we needed an elf. I’ll save my anti-Santa rant and dislike of the threatening-repeating parent (cf. Love n Logic) for another blog, or even another lifetime…Let’s just say our elf is NOT a spy. 🙂

So the elf. We perused Amazon, Pinterest (holy hilarious antics!) and, as usual, I found my answer on ravelry. Love that site.

Here’s the pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/elf-on-the-shelf

I thought PINK, but my sweet girl wanted red. So it began.

Fortunately, I had some cute colored eyes left over from an Etsy order I placed eons ago! I really like the blue.

We began the hair.

One of my favorite parts of the pattern is the white picot collar! I decided to use it on the hat also, instead of leaving it plain.

Added a little pink mouth, and began to sew…I used a needle to separate the strands of yarn and give her pretty curly locks.

Decided I REALLY liked the picot collar and added trim to the sleeves as well. 🙂

Then, she sat in waiting for a week or two. It gets busy this time of year!

Finally, I found the time, and motivation, to stitch on those cute, skinny arms and legs.

And she was darling!

At my daughter’s request, I even found time to make her a little baby elf friend. 

The hair is a bit comical, and she didn’t like the eyes, so perhaps I will redo those…

But still, cute n all!

Have a blessed week-before-Christmas, and may you be surrounded by much love, now and always.

Happy hooking!

Oh, Nativity

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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). 🙂  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…

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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I used this Bernat pattern as a base

http://www.yarnspirations.com/patterns/i-heart-my-dress.html

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:

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

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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.

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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.

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Until then, happy hooking!

Oh Dear and Aha!

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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

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/the-perfect-all-hallows-eve/

I was planning to rework this afghan

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/the-lovely-african-flower-afghan-part-iii/

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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

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

Argh.

 

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.

 

Grrrr, The Irrestistable Tiger Hat

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Hello and Happy Friday!

We interrupt this week’s anticipated post (Circling Lovelies, part 2–  which shall appear in some other future 🙂  ) to play with tiger awesome-ness!

Summer was drawing to a close, and my darling nephew’s birthday was soon upon us. As he is quite the handsome young man, a hat was just the thing!

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A tiger is sort of his special animal, bestowed upon him by his other grandma…so I was inspired to give it a go.

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I used Sarah’s basic hat pattern (www.repeatcrafterme.com) and alternated two rows of orange with a row of black.

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Nose (and pink in ears) is 10dc in a ring.

Cheeks are 10hdc, then a round of 20 hdc.

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Outer ear is 7 hdc, 3 dc and 7hdc to make it a bit pointy.

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Little Miss Cousin here is pretty sure he will like it! 🙂

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A sneak peek at another work-in-progress started during tiger production. (C2C graphgan featuring Toothless) Heaven only knows when that will get a little more attention…

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And the darling boy sporting his new birthday hat!

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Oh, smooches to his cuteness and love from auntie!

See you next week with more on the lovely Circle of Friends pattern. ❤

Lovely Christmas

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Merry Christmas Eve! I pray you are well, spending time with loved ones, and taking time to reflect this beautiful season. We are looking forward to several quiet days at home, just us!

Two pretty patterns to share with you today; they work up quickly if you need a last minute gift!

Angie’s Little Stockings– an annual favorite around here! I love playing with the color combinations.
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http://www.lemondedesucrette.com/2011/11/16/little-christmas-socks-the-pattern/

And some lovely ornament angels
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I browsed dozens of patterns and these were just the ticket! Sweet, simple, and free. 🙂
http://mobil.crochetmillan.bloggplatsen.se/2014/11/28/10939246-guardian-angel/

Our tree this year is a giant fuzzball! Many thanks to my husband for taking the girls out to the woods to find it. It smells divine.

A before shot:
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And after:
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It has rained for five days…so my apologies on the few pictures…we are glad the roads have been safe for travel, though! Lots of time to enjoy visits with grandpas and grandmas. ❤

A blessed merry Christmas to you!

See you in 2015 🙂

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Pretty Poinsettias Plus {{30 Days of Christmas Crochet Cuteness}}

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I know. Christmas, for many of us, is over. My husband said the other day he was soooo ready for the radio station to return to the non-holiday playlist. I had to bite my tongue, and just nod sympathetically…I could happily listen to Christmas music year round. Yes, I know this is odd…I think that might be the best part of turning forty and aging gracefully…I don’t worry so much anymore.., about the shoulds! Much more interested in what is, or might be…

So, a last hurrah, before tucking away the garlands and glitz of the season. Lots of fun winter designs coming up: hats galore, mittens, boot cuffs, pretty scarves…and it’s never too early to start those sweet spring designs, either. Pinterest has already started trickling them onto my feed. But for now, one of my favorites

1) Poinsettia, the Christmas flower.

Ooo, love this one over at Ravelry. It reminds me of rabbit ears:

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Thank you to June Gilblank for the free pattern.  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/poinsettia-3

2. I looked longingly at pretty Christmas afghans throughout the holiday season as I bustled with my business orders…here is my favorite. It can also be done in non-Christmas colors for a stunning motif in any season. School or sport colors wound be neat as well.

Homecoming Queen of Bullions Square

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/homecoming-queen-of-bullions

3. A holly leaf over at Pinterest I have been dying to try…I might try my hand at a Christmas wreath for next year…

Crochet Holly and Berries - Chart  ❥ 4U // hf

4. And dear Lucy’s pattern over at Attic 24, one of my favorite places to visit…

http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/holly-leaves.html

http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/holly-leaves.html

4. A lovely tree skirt from Red Heart…

Crochet Tree Skirt

http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/crochet-tree-skirt

5. And a marvelous lacey scarf from Ravelry in Caron Simply Soft. I would make this with plain white squares in between, I think, as an afghan, I do notice the flower blankets can be a bit overpowering when every square is a bursting bloom! Placed in a checkerboard pattern with simpler squares in between the effect is more balanced and– stunning.

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http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/poinsettia-scarf-2

6. Now something a bit simpler: granny squares! The same pretty flora look, without the complication of shaping petals.

http://www.familyholiday.net/sparkly-christmas-granny-afghan

Phew, that will be enough flowers for a while! Onto something yummier later in the week: Gingerbread hooking!

And then we will break out the winter designs, dreaming of spring…have a lovely day! We will be trying to stay warm, here, with temperatures well below zero the next few days.