Finished Fabulous Flowers

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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. πŸ˜€

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

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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/

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

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

Happy hooking!

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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). πŸ™‚Β  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!

Circling Lovelies

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Hello and happy weekend.

The weather has turned colder after an unseasonable warm spell that made the start of school a bit more cruel than usual.

Nothing like baking in the classroom, thinking of the beach!

The children suffered more than I did, as I was so excited about the start of the new year with my new job…and my classrooms have air conditioning. πŸ™‚

Today’s pattern is one of my favorites. Tried and true. Simple, well-written, and deceptively intricate. When it looks difficult, but is surprisingly easy to make…

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Priscilla Hewitt is a master designer, in my humble opinion.

I love her Matelasse. All of them. ❀

This one is sweetly named: Circle of Friends. Find it here:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/circle-of-friends-square

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Rounds of sc or dc, then a fun trp-sc to make the fabulous textures!

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I used Caron Simply Soft and my F (3.5mm) hook.

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Started in a fit of need for bursts of random color, and whipped up over the course of a few days, as the pattern is really quite simple.

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I’m so glad I did, for now I have news of babies on the way and will finish this blanket in plenty of time to gift it.

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I changed colors each round, choosing the most contrast I could find…and trying not to duplicate any.

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I love my spring brights. Good old V-Stitch in the background makes me smile, as it is still waiting for me to sew in those ends…and back with flannel. πŸ˜€

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I plan to join my squares with a beautiful silver gray in a boring double crochet band…anything with braid, lattice or texture would be too much, and fail to highlight the gorgeous bumpiness of this pattern!

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See the circles turn into squares next time!

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Until then…

May you have a lovely week. ❀

Toad-ally Awesome

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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.

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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.

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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. πŸ™‚

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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.

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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: http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2012/09/crochet-owl-hat-pattern-in-newborn.html

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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.

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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.

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

I hope to write again soon. πŸ™‚

Giant Granny Goodness, Part II

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

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:

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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.

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A trio of riotous color contrast:

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And the real challenge begins! A preliminary layout:

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The burning question…how many more rounds???

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

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

Perhaps fifteen. And then a kitschy border, for certain!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KitschΒ Β Β  πŸ˜‰

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

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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. πŸ™‚ My sweet neighbor was happy to comply and home she came, several hours later, with yummy chocolate treats to boot. Happy summer!

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

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For blanket information, see here:

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/baby-victorian-dreams/

And for the dress pattern:

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

Happy day!

Baby Victorian Dreams

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Hello and happy Tuesday!

Something pretty and sweet, this sultry summer July day…

The kidlets are in the pool, splashing and shrieking up a storm.

There is a lovely breeze.

Today’s pretty is a soft, colorful baby blanket for a special someone!

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I have been longing to try this pattern:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/victorian-lattice-square

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I’m using Caron Simply Soft in Blue Mint, Strawberry and Lime with a 3.5mm hook.

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The edging is my own design and NOT quite finished yet. πŸ™‚ I am a bit obsessed with pineapple patterns these days, and based it on that. I have been downloading quite a few doily charts!

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The free pattern for the square includes both the written pattern and a chart (Oh, I love using charts, they are much faster for me).

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Such vibrant colors, and the feel is out-of-this-world soft.

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I may have to make this one again. I love the look of the square.

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For joining, I used the braided join technique– or at least my own twisted version of it! πŸ˜€

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I learned this join while participating in The Crochet Crowd’s Crochet-Along earlier this year:

http://thecrochetcrowd.com/2015-knit-crochet-along-mystery-afghan/

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I see that Moogly has also featured this square recently, on Hookin’ on Hump Day, and another nifty way to join these pretty squares…you can check that out here:

http://www.mooglyblog.com/hohd-98/#more-16604

http://aureliaslittleroom.com/tutorial-simple-joining-square-technique/

Well, it is time for snack, here at home. They are happy to play nicely as long as I feed them. πŸ™‚

May many happy hours of crochet be in your future. ❀

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Stunning Sophie, Part II

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It’s looking good!

The weekend was a bit full– more than I like– but it was well worth the time.

My lovely 13-year-old performed a solo and duet in a district school competition and we spent the day together, along with my sweet mother. I so enjoyed hearing the promising student vocalists and musicians! Our school was well-represented and I am grateful for such a quality music program in our quite-rural area.

A smile, despite the nerves, just before singing:
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After a day away, the youngest was wishing for some mama time. As much as I longed to pick up my hook, an eye to the clock said bedtime (and quiet crochet solitude bliss for this mama) was a scant hour away. So I acquiesced her childish request and here we are, “playing clowns ” with Sophie.

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She did a fair job with the make-up! No complaints from me. πŸ™‚
And sure enough, I got my time soon after.

As others have said, it doesn’t do to work on Sophie when you are tired. Too many crucial stitch counts! So I did a bit, and then went to bed early…three days in a row!

She is growing so prettily.

Here we have the sought after Blue Hawaii to finish part 4:
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And then my favorite round to date, the TULIPS:
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Oh, it makes my heart hurt to look at her! That queer ache of pain when something is just a bit too lovely…

At this point the colorway decisions became a challenge again. Where to go next with the pallette?

Time for the blues and greens, but first, white petals for contrast.
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And just for fun, the back…messy ends everywhere! I am really very naughty not to weave them in at intervals. πŸ™‚ The directions even include suggested weaving points!
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Now another row of tulips, and a little yellow sunshine to set them off:
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And decision-time! I need to plan the color scheme for the next few rows.
The pattern has been released through part 9 and I am just finishing up part 6, but no worries, I will get there!

Here is the link if you would like it. The color combinations of the myriads of folks creating a Sophie of their own are beyond stunning. Check out the ravelry and facebook links to see them all.

http://www.lookatwhatimade.net/crafts/yarn/crochet/sophies-universe-cal-2015/

Just finished those pink tulips moments ago!
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A few pending projects– a squirrel hat, dinosaur softie, pink flower baby sandals and two toddler cardigans, among other things!

Life is never dull.

Sophie’s Universe is such a lovely pattern…looking forward to an evening of crochet!

And a quiet upcoming weekend for the first time in ages…contended sigh.
Happy hooking!