Give My Regards

Standard

Hellooooo and happy weekend!

I am back, and it was wonderful.

Please forgive another non-crochet-related post, but wait until I explain…

We went to New York! My daughter’s school music program took a trip out to perform and see the sights, and I was able to go along.

Now, for those of you that live there, not such amazing news. And those who are able to travel and vacation regularly, again, not so exciting. But for those of you like me, with a big family and a small budget, that haven’t traveled further than the nearest big town for well, years…it was fabulous.

I’ve dreamed of traveling to see a show on Broadway my whole life.

And as long as we were there, well, we saw a lot more than that!

Forgive my vacation pictures:

Tying my shoelace on the Staten Island Ferry…

Wall Street, and the 9/11 Memorial…yes, I looked like a complete tourist, gawking at all the skyscrapers.

A concert at St. John’s, then a walk through Columbia University

Our new favorite place…a real New York corner market.

Times Square, not my thing, but great to see once in a lifetime. Loved every minute of our dinner at the Stardust Diner.

A concert aboard the Intrepid, a quick tour of Lincoln Center, and Julliard.

Central Park, Rockefeller Plaza and a fantastic historical tour at Radio City, and we were done.

And there you have it. My dream trip in a nutshell. Now if I can get caught up on the laundry, we will be back to our regularly scheduled crochet adventures next week.

Have a lovely day! And enjoy your time, however you chose to spend it.

 

Advertisements

A Little Mermaid Princess

Standard

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!

DSCN0941

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/

DSCN0946

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!

DSCN0954

Added some fins…

DSCN0956

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

DSCN0961

Now the green for seaweed and leaves:

DSCN0969

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!

DSCN0972

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. 🙂

DSCN0971

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

DSCN0975

A little sea weed, anyone? 🙂

DSCN0978

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.

DSCN0984

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, Nativity

Standard

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…

20151218_105734

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

20151218_105747

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

20151218_105759(1)

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

20151218_105908

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

20151218_105814

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.

20151218_110117

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.

DSCN0478

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/

DSCN0412

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.

DSCN0480

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.

20151218_105814

Until then, happy hooking!

Dainty Doily Delight

Standard

Hello, Hello and Happy Tuesday!

May I welcome myself back from a lovely vacation? 😉

It was a much-needed time; so completely detached from my usual tasks that I felt quite a different person, and was entirely refreshed.

Just before we left, I pulled several faded, mimeographed charts from my pile of patterns and worked up a bit of pretty cotton-acrylic blend.

IMG_4939

I wish I had a tub full of the stuff..that’s what it would take to make anything of substantial size!

Here’s the label:

IMG_4946

How anyone manages to buy enough fine yarn to make a sweater or camisole is beyond me; the cost is quite prohibitive.

IMG_4941

I contented myself with doing the first few rounds of this old chart. The fiber blend slipped so neatly between my fingers, and I love the stitch definition that comes from working with cotton.

IMG_4943

I really must pull out some of my finer thread and make another go at something long and lacy.

***

Would you like to make one yourself? Here are a few patterns to choose from:

http://allcrafts.net/crochet/crochetdoilies.htm

Need something easy for a beginner? Maybe here:

http://www.favecrafts.com/Crochet/Free-Crochet-Doily-Patterns-for-Beginners

I could get lost on the internet, browsing patterns. Here are two more of my favorite search spots. Perhaps you need a new project!

http://www.garnstudio.com/

http://www.yarnspirations.com/

IMG_4935

Our vacation was such a lovely time away. I shall bundle it up into my happiest memories and keep it there, pulling it out to reminisce, as needed, during the long winters.

IMG_4944

May your summer be full of lovely tender moments and fair-weather fun!

Until we crochet again… ❤

Mais Oui

Standard

Hello and happy Wednesday-after-the-holiday!

We had a lovely weekend. It was an entire mini-vacation (I worked Friday but darling dear did not and you can bet I put him to work!) We had fun and got soooo much accomplished.

It makes me eager for summer…

I have two small sweets with birthdays fast approaching. Since my favorite crochet item is a little dress, well, does two-and-two-make-four?

My favorite little go-to dress is here: https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/pretty-baby-dress/

image

and I started with one of those, but wanted to try something different for the second…so I went a-hunting on ravelry! I love that site…

I found the most amazing pattern…free, one skein, easy AND beautiful…it doesn’t get any better than that in my happy crochet world. I used Caron simply soft in light blue and my favorite (5mm) H hook.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/angel-pop-over-dress

IMG_4716

I was tickled it is called a French Pop-Over Smock as I studied French at the university. 😀

The sleeves are a delight (and so simple!)

IMG_4724

The triple v-stitch couldn’t be easier to work.

IMG_4722

The edging is nearly the same as the other pattern…and one of my favorite things to make!

IMG_4723

I love the pretty flower accent in the picture (on ravelry)…so of course I had to make one!

I have a love-hate relationship with flowers. Sometimes, and only sometimes, they turn out well for me.

But as I said, yesterday was a GOOD crochet day…not only did the pretty flower turn out, I designed it myself!

IMG_4737

And here is the free pattern for your crochet pleasure.

IMG_4734

Pretty Carnation Flower
Ch 36
1) Dc in 5th ch from hook (1st v-stitch made). *Sk st, dc-ch 1-dc into next st. Repeat from * across. Make v-stitch in last ch. Turn. (17 v-stitches)
2) Sl st into ch 1 sp. Ch 2, hdc 3x, ch 2, sl st all in same sp. Repeat twice. (3 hdc petals)
Sl st into ch 1 sp. Ch 3, dc 3x, ch 2, sl st into same sp. Repeat four times (5 dc petals)
Sl st into ch 1 sp. Ch 3, trp 5x, ch 3, sl st into same sp. Repeat eight times (9 trp petals)
17 petals total.
With hdc petals in the center, curl work into a spiral and sew to secure.

IMG_4729

IMG_4731

Lovely little dress! Merci mille fois for free patterns ❤

IMG_4742

And happy hooking!

IMG_4738

Starch-ness Raving

Standard

Hello, hello…time for adventure!
We are hustling and bustling here per the season, and I have several fun things to share this week. 🙂

First off…pretty candy canes! With “victorian” in the name, of course I had to try them. They worked up quickly and easily to make darling gifts. We will finish them off with ribbon and rosettes at the top, for hanging.

image

Free pattern here:
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/victorian-candy-cane-cover

And now to the starch-ness! This has been on my to-try list for months and months…and what better time to give it a go than Christmas…for snowflakes!

I love, love, love Lucy’s pretty pattern, and what a difference a little starch, stretch, pin and block makes. Here’s the link to make your own:
http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/crochet-snowflake.html

image

Knowing nothing about starching, I bought the blue bottle my friend Kristina recommended.
Reading the suggested dilutions, we went with 1/2 cup starch to 1 cup water.

image

I’ve no idea how it will turn out. 🙂
(Took one in negative, just for fun!)
image

Aren’t they pretty?
image

I’ve discovered I haven’t nearly enough pins…ha ha

Now to share the delight of this lovely season with you, some pretty holiday stills of my most favorite things. image

Our antique dresser (made by my husband’s great uncle)
image

A nativity for little hands
image

The stockings are hung
image

An advent nativity
image

And precious angel

image

My scripture nativity

And stashed away in a corner, my twelve-point star with nearly all the orange rounds finished…with upcoming parties and concerts it’s anyone’s guess if that will be finished anytime soon!
image

Praying you are able to enjoy this blessed season despite the busy-ness, and making lovely memories with you and yours. Until next time!

O Christmas Tree and Mr. Gingerbread, finished!

Standard

Not a moment to spare, the Bitty Baby Christmas clothes are complete! So much fun to make…it was a lot to finish in these last weeks before the holiday, but well worth it. Their little owners will be delighted, I think! I know I am. 🙂
image

image

image

Like The Sparkly Toad on Facebook for more fun projects!The Sparkly Toad on Facebook