Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Holiday Preparations

With the holidays fast approaching, I have been on overdrive trying to get things done.  I have lots of great deals in store for this Black Friday- Cyber Monday, some new items, and a new pattern to list as well!
Then of course, because I didn't have enough to do already, I decided that I must make something new for my daughter to wear for Thanksgiving.  I've had a skein of Indian Corn superwash merino wool (from Expression Fiber Arts) sitting in one of my yarn totes, calling to me for a couple of weeks now.  It was begging me to transform it into something fantastic!  But I just didn't know what that might be.  A hat?  Perhaps a scarf?  Hmmm....
It finally came to me a couple of nights ago... a new outfit for my daughter!  At first it was going to be a dress, then it became a flowy long tank top.  Then I realized it could be a convertable ensemble.  If I make the straps adjustable, it can function as a short dress, a long top and a skirt with suspenders!  Plus, it will grow with her, so that she will get lots of wear out of it, which is important to me.
I'm happy to say that this is now more than halfway complete, as I have several other items to create, finish, photograph and list before the week is through.
These mittens are my newest pattern and are set for release on Black Friday!  They will be half price through Monday for the holiday sale.  They are the Amazingly Cozy Crocheted Mittens, as they are to be worked up in Amazing yarn by Lion Brand.  They can of course be created in any medium weight yarn, but I just love the wooly cozyness of that yarn!  One of my testers worked up a pair in Caron Simply Soft which came out beautifully, and would make a great option for those with wool allergies.
They are offered in three different adult sizes (women's small and med/large and men's large) with a length variation for the men's large.  Each size has its own different cuff.  They work up very quick and easy, making them a great last minute gift idea.  Make some for everyone in your family!
I have also been trying to get holiday presents made for my own family.  I love homemade presents!  I love making them, giving them, and receiving them!  They are just a little more special.  Something given from the heart, made with your own two hands.  All of the hours of thought and work that goes into it.  I have been making presents for my family for years, and for some reason, I never seem to start early enough.  I am always racing the clock up till the very end to get things done.  This year is no different.  In fact, it's a little tougher to get my own stuff done this year since starting my own business.
I have at least started.  I have a beautiful stuffed mermaid doll which I am crocheting in more superwash merino wool from Expression Fiber Arts ( I just LOVE her yarn!), that is nearly finished.  She will be a present for my daughter.  I also plan on sewing some flannel pj bottoms and a pillow case for her.  I'll be crocheting her another animal or two as well as a new ornament (I make her one each year).
I have socks nearly finished for the hubby, a hat for my mother in-law, and some other items for my family.
There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in a day during this time of year.  Wouldn't you agree?
I will be offering major deals in my Etsy shop this coming weekend as well as a couple of flash sales on my facebook page.  So keep checking in periodically to score some hot deals and finish your holiday shopping!
Oh.... and a very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hootie Cuties (free pattern)

There has been a bit of interest in these cute little owls I recently made.  They were simply the result of an afternoon of playing with my yarn scraps.  So when I was asked if I was selling the pattern, I was kind of surprised. 

I really didn't have a pattern.  As I said, I was just playing with my yarn.  Sometimes I like to do that, and just see what happens.  It took me a minute to think of how they came to be.  I typed up the pattern in a quick message.  Then I thought, why not share it with all of you!

So here it is; Hootie Cuties, the pattern!


(I would love to see your finished owls!  Please feel free to post them on my facebook page)
*This is an excellent scrapbuster, as it doesn't take up much yarn at all, and all of those little cut tails you accumulate can become the ears!
*The faces may be embroidered, sewn on pieces of felt (both good options for children under 3), or you could use buttons/safety eyes for the eyes.  The possibilities are endless and entirely up to you!

ch2, sc 6 times into 2nd chain from hook
then you just work in the round (no joining)

increase row: 2sc in each sc (12 total)

increase row: 1sc, 2 sc, repeat (18 total)

increase row: 1sc in the first 2sc, 2sc in the next, repeat (24)

Now you'll have a good sized circle. You can choose to
continue increasing if you want based on the increase pattern.

Once you've reached the size you want, continue working sc in the round for about 3 rows
Begin your next row with a sc decrease, continue in sc around
Sc in the round for 2 more rows
Begin the next row with another sc decrease, continue sc in the round

The size of your owl is entirely up to you, and they will vary based on yarn choice and hook size. 
I continue to sc crochet in the round until I reach the desired height.
Then to finish him off, I stuff him generously with polyfil, mold his little shape and at one side of his head.....

ch 1, and sc across the top of his head (closing him in the process)

Now comes the fun part (well it's all fun, really)!  Grab all of those tail ends from various projects (if you're anything like me, you have billions!  I refuse to throw out "perfectly good yarn"), group several together, and pull them through each corner of the head, knotting them.  Do this to each side of the head at the corners, creating ears.
There are many options for the faces.  I chose to sew pieces of felt for the face.  I then stitched "sleepy eyes" to one and button eyes to the other.  Both are cute, but I feel more comfortable with the embroidered and felt faces for young children.  Buttons can pose a choking hazard, so please remember this when deciding on a face.
Most importantly, have fun and get creative!  You can do lots of different things with these little guys, and by using up your scraps, each and every one will be unique! 
You can even make them little homes.......
I think these Hootie Cuties would make excellent stocking stuffers!  Don't you?
If you don't crochet yourself, but would like these as a stocking stuffer this year, please check out the listing in my Etsy shop!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Free Yarny Goodness!

Check out this box of yarny goodness!  Picked this up while trick-or-treating.  How cool is that?!
A friend's mom had all of this yarn, and gave it to me, so I am going to have lots of fun with it!  There is some virgin wool, acrylic, and several skeins in the same color, so maybe I can make a larger project.  I see another sweater or two in my future.  Perhaps I will make her a pair of mittens or a cowl as a thank you.  Still trying to decide what to make her from this....

In the meantime, I have been working on some sweaters and a couple of hat and mitten sets for my cousin's boys.  I have found sweater making addicting, and my daughter needs to have her fall/winter wardrobe bulked up, so this works out quite well.  I am also trying to use up a lot of the yarn in my stash before I will allow myself to purchase anymore.  Call it a yarn diet.  So I created this sweater vest from some leftovers that I thought went together very nicely.  It's almost finished.

 I have another sweater in the works, a Christmas colored one, that is using up some more of my Simply Soft acrylic.  I have been debating whether to keep it, gift it, or list it for the holiday season.  It would be a good sweater for a little boy, and I always seem to make girl's items since I have a little girl.
My cousin wanted to buy some hat and mitten sets for her boys.  She said the ones in the stores were cheap quality and thin.  She wanted something nice that would keep them warm.  So I am busy at work on those at the moment. 
This one is for her 3 1/2 year old boy, whose favorite color is blue and has that and lime green on his winter coat.  I thought this yarn I had on hand would be perfect.  As much as I love working in natural fibers these days, she didn't want wool (scratchy), and acrylic is really easier to care for.  When you have two boys, 2 and 3 1/2 years, you need easy care items.  I doubled up the strands for the hat, and I think I will also be lining it with some fleece for extra warmth and softness.
Her other little boy is my daughter's age and loves Elmo!  So naturally I am going to make him an Elmo hat.  I made one for my daughter, and it was a big hit with everyone.  I don't list them in my shop due to copyright and licensing issues.  I want nothing to do with that.  But I am more than happy to make them for friends and family!  He'll get some red mittens to match.

My daughter in her Elmo hat I made for her
In other news, I will be offering a new special starting Monday and running through the end of this year!  Each week I will offer one hat from my Etsy shop at a 20% discount!  Every Monday I will post a different hat on my facebook page at 20% off.  One hat per week(whether it sells or not) and after that week it will return to its full price.  This offer can not be combined with any other coupons/offers.  This would be a great way to save on some holiday shopping if you're buying handmade this year.
I am also planning several things for the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so stay tuned!
Have you started your holiday shopping/making?  I am behind already, but I'm working on things now.  Not much time left till Christmas!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I can't believe Halloween is already over!  Time is going far too fast these days.  This was our daughter's first year of trick-or-treating, so it was pretty exciting!
She was Minnie Mouse this year, and looked absolutely adorable! 

She loves all things Mickey and Minnie, so I had it in my head for months now that I would be making her a Minnie Mouse costume.  I was originally going to do the red with white polka dots, as that was the first thing that came to mind.  It was Minnie's costume for years.  I have a picture of myself as a child in Disney World with Minnie wearing that outfit. 
 But these days, Minnie has gone pink! 
I ordered a great shade of bubblegum pink yarn about 2 weeks before Halloween(I know, cutting it very close).  It arrived quickly though, and I got to work on her skirt.  I used the basic idea for my toddler skirt/poncho (pattern to come soon!) and made it very large with a drawstring.  This way it will be fully adjustable and able to grow with her.  Also, this made it more "twirly", and what little girl doesn't love a twirly skirt?  In fact, as soon as the skirt was crocheted, my daughter had it on and was twirling around the living room.  She didn't want to wait for the finishing touches.

I made this skirt a little longer than the other one (I love the other skirt, but wish I had made it just a bit longer), and then I added some handsewn lace all along the bottom.  Minnie Mouse has frilly bloomers worn under her skirt, so I wanted to add that extra frilly touch.  I think the lace really made the skirt!  Then I added white polka dots cut out of felt.  I sewed them on with a simple "x" stitch so that I could easily remove them later if I wanted to.  I did a simple black chain and looped it over the button of her skirt for a "tail", which seemed to be everyone's favorite part.
Then I made her a simple black beanie, added her mouse ears from her birthday headband, and used the leftover pink yarn from the skirt to make a bow.  I added some smaller white felt polka dots to the bow and sewed it onto the hat.
I am so happy with how it turned out!  It makes me feel good to be able to make things for her that she can wear and enjoy.  It was important to me that I make her costume, rather than buying one.  My mother always made our costumes, and they were always so much nicer than the store bought ones, in my opinion.  My brother and I always looked unique, and we both won lots of contests.  But what I remember most is the love that went into each costume.  She enjoyed making them for us, and getting us ready for trick-or-treating.  I have great memories of all our Halloween's together, and I wanted to keep up with that tradition.
My little girl with her daddy (note she is eating a banana, not candy,lol)

Walking through her grandma's neighborhood
We wound up adding the sweater I made her to the costume
as it was very chilly out.