Maddy’s Dragon

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And now for a trip down memory lane…

It was the dog days of summer. Hot and sunny. We loaded up the in-laws minivan and headed south, then east, to grandpa’s old stomping ground.

His cousin has spent the better part of two years planning afive generation family reunion!

And here we were.

Each branch of the family tree had been assigned a color, so we topped ourselves off in red t-shirts and headed to the hall to help set up.

My husband’s sweet cousin was expecting her first child. ❤

She had messaged me months ago with the cutest little dragon Ami picture, and asked if it was something I could make?

How could I refuse? I love a challenge, and I love taking requests. 🙂

Imagine my delight when I discovered the pattern was free, on Ravelry, and my further delight when it was one of those rare gems of pattern that one so rarely finds: well-written and of the “it looks so complex but is really quite easy to make” variety.

It was a triple blessing at that point– a new baby, and a free, quite do-able pattern.

Add in a trip to actually visit relations and deliver the gift in person, and life is good!

She wanted a little dragon in pink and green…And here it is.

It turned out just darling.

Here’s the pattern link:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bb-dragon
Now for those of you who are curious, I love the in-process photos, as the creature is becoming…

We begin with the parts:

And then a few more…

Now to sew. I love this little ridgeback!

And then the arms, the legs

The eyes were amazing. I really didn’t think I could do it…And then I couldn’t believe the difference they made, once attached, in bringing the little guy to life. I confess, I hot-glued them in place… Usually I hand-stitch everything, so the item is washable.

Now for the rest: ears, horns and… nostrils! Again, it was truly amazing as this character took shape in my hands. Each detail added so much.

And finished!

What a marvelous fiber adventure.

May you be blessed and crafty today.

Happy hooking!

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Ordinary Miracles

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‘Tis the day before Thanksgiving.

The bird is ready.

The school speeches have been made.

Grandmother’s table is set…

…with the other grandmother’s ceramic turkey.

My chicks will soon all be home to the nest and I am deeply content.

So at peace, in fact, that there is nothing left to do this drizzly day but put some yarn on my hook and crochet the afternoon away. ❤

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For a fun crochet Tom turkey, see this previous Thanksgiving post:

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/granny-squares-mr-tom/


Happy Thanksgiving! Be blessed, tomorrow and always.

O Happy, Full Days

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An Ode to the First Week of School:

I would have crocheted on Wednesday, but I started my new position at work.

I would have crocheted on Thursday, but that was the day we took my firstborn to college.

I would have crocheted on Friday, but my in-laws asked us to lunch, and then the dishwasher broke and flooded the kitchen.

I would have crocheted on Saturday, but there was the incident with the wasp’s nest and weed wacker. Not to mention the machete. And those cursed walnut trees.

I would have crocheted on Sunday, but my third baby had the stomach flu, which she received as a gift from the second baby last week.

Monday was a holiday, certainly I could have crocheted then! But my sweet husband asked me along on his scuba diving outing, so we took baby four to the beach for the day.


And today? Well, today I paid the bills and did the grocery shopping and broke the washing machine (it IS rather old and has served us many years, much the same as the dishwasher) just in time to write this and head off to work. Perhaps

I will be able to crochet tomorrow. 🙂

Unless baby four decides to have the flu, next. She did say her tummy rather hurt as she headed off to school today. ❤

I am so thankful for my many blessings: a full heart and house that keep me from free time is nothing to complain about, that is certain.

Until next time! May YOU have time to crochet. 

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. ❤

A Little Mermaid Princess

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And now, for something completely different… 🙂

It is birthday season here! Kind of fun, that following the holidays we have two in a row, then one in March, one in April.

I try to make cute cakes for our girls. It doesn’t happen every year…but I learned from my mother, who learned from her mother– hmm, that’s how I learned to crochet, too! I use a cake idea site especially for amateurs, since a professional cake artist, I am not!

Find it here: http://www.coolest-birthday-cakes.com/  Pinterest is just too unrealistic for me, most days. 🙂

This year’s request from baby #4 was “the mermaid on a rock one, please, mommy?” I was happy to comply…though we hit a bit of a snag when she wanted to help…even if she was eight going on nine last week…and had some definite design ideas that may or may not have been practical…apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and all that… 😉

But the end result was sweet, if not award-winning. I’ll include a bit of a how-to, and a few links, if you’d like to give it a go yourself!

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First, a cake mix baked in a glass bowl. I use the Pampered Chef batter bowl; I like that one (pictured back left). Grease and flour it well! It takes a bit longer to bake in the bowl, usually about 45 minutes. I made a marshmallow fondant for the tail, so much cheaper than the regular stuff!

For the recipes– marshmallow fondant and cake decorator icing– see here: https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/spring-longing/

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Grey for the rock, blue for waves, pink for the tail. I had fun with my decorator tips, haven’t had those out in a while!

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Added some fins…

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Went a shade darker with the pink to add some trim.

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Now the green for seaweed and leaves:

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I’m not too particular as long as the kids like it. Frosting is too changeable for my taste…sweet and such a variety in consistency!

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I do detest clean-up…the oil from the shortening never fully washes. In fact the tubes of frosting are still sitting in my fridge a week later. We will use them to decorate some cookies before I finally break down and scrub them out. At least the bags are disposable! Washing the tips out is bad enough. 🙂

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A view or two of her pretty flower in the hair:

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A little sea weed, anyone? 🙂

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On another note, I finally replaced my favorite orange tennies. I’ve enjoyed featuring them in crochet shots from time to time, and now they are due to retire. I used a little Christmas money to buy a new pair, black this time. Not quite as much fun, but ah well, that’s what they had at the store.

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May you have a marvelous evening! I am excited to pick up my hook for the first time in over a week. If I can stay awake…I hope to start a gorgeous cardigan.

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…

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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.

 

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.