Saturday, December 31, 2011

Crochet of 2011

Hello Friends, 

Happy New Year to all of you in Blogland. Many of you have already rung in the new year in the eastern hemisphere. We are just over three hours away and 2012 will be here. I have never been a big fan of new years as I find the holiday is the end of the Christmas season and for most people it means back to work and back to school - AND the long winter ahead. Now that I live in Florida, the winter ahead is a lovely one with sunshine and flowers, but I still have feelings of cold winter fears.

This past year has been wonderful, filled with great life experiences, the start-up of crocheting and crafting regularly, and my blog! Since my first blogiversary is less than a month away, I am going to share photos of my projects from the the end of January to June of 2011. After looking through the photos, I was surprised at the number of projects and fun endeavors I had with my hook and yarn. I will let the photos speak for themselves!

Looks like a beautiful crochet garden to me!

I wish you a very happy, healthy, and joyful New Year! May all your dreams come true

xoxo Susan

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Yule Log and Candy Cane Scarf

Hello Friends,

I was starting to get the after Christmas blues, but it went away quickly when I took down the Christmas tree and decorations yesterday. Usually we keep it up to at least New Years since the Christmas holiday does not end on Christmas day, but we our house is currently listed on the market so we want to make sure it is in "regular" shape for potential buyers to see. I did leave this little sign up though...

Since Christmas is gone in my house, I will share a little bit more about it with you in Bloglang. On Christmas day we had a wonderful dinner at our friends' house with delicious food and J and I both had Yule Log for the very first time. I've seen people mentioning Yule logs on facebook and blogs, but we never had one at any of my family holiday festivities.
Our friends' beautiful Christmas tree

Yule Log with little mushrooms
Christmas Manger
The center of this yule log was a real treat. Nelly, our hostess is from Greece and spend some time in France this past summer. While in France she picked up some Creme de Marron - which is a chestnut spread. It was very delicious. She even made little mushrooms with chocolate under the mushroom top to look real!
Chestnut Creme inside - delicious!

Look at that mushroom - a real work of food art
Well, let's get on to what you probably really want to see... crocheted! I finally finished the rows of the candy cane scarf for my mom and I am looking forward to making things with more colors now. The red and white look great, but about halfway through the scarf I was sick of using just red and white. I have some ends to weave in and then ship it off.

Candy Cane Crochet Scarf

It reminds me of "Where's Waldo" - don't you think?

My next project is to finish the last row of my granny garden blanket - it will finally be complete as a 10 by 10 square blanket. And after that I need to finish my ripple. The ripple was the very first blanket I started to make when I began crocheting again almost 1 year ago.

Are you trying to finish up any projects before the New Year rings?
Happy Thursday
xoxo Susan

Monday, December 26, 2011

Vera Bradley New Patterns Spring 2012 - Ellie Blue and Camellia!

Hello Friends,

I hope you had a fabulous Christmas. With the holidays and end of the semester business, I realized I did not share any photos of new Vera Bradley patterns. For all of the Vera Bradley fans out there, I have two sneak peak patterns to show you. I forgot I had these and I meant to share them many months ago.

These are for Spring 2012 and are not not out in stores yet. The release date is January 19th, 2012. You may be able to find someone selling them on ebay if they purchased one at a sneak peak preview at a Vera Bradley store or retailer.

The first one is called Ellie Blue. I think this one looks nice.

Ellie Blue - Vera Bradley Spring 2012 Pattern
The second one I have is called Camellia. I think it is a nice black and white with shades of gray bag. This black and white one looks like it be better than some previous black and white ones because there is more black and gray in it - less to get dirty.

Camellia - Vera Bradley Spring 2012 Pattern
I hope you enjoy the sneak peak even thought it is not as early as I like to post them. Also, if you want to see the other two colors, click here for a youtube video from OhMyVera:

Happy Day!
xoxo Susan

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve 2011

Merry Christmas Eve Friends,

The night before Christmas is finally here! I just ran out to the grocery store to get some break for Christmas morning breakfast and I could not believe how packed the mall parking lot was when I drove by. Not only was every parking spot taken but there were cars up and down every row waiting for spots. I was very glad I was not one of those last minute shoppers.

From: Pinterest
I hope your stockings are hung by the chimney with care, your tree is decorated, presents wrapped, and fire is burning. AND if you are lucky, you white Christmas with a winter wonderland outside.

From: Pinterest
Have a very Merry Christmas Eve
xoxo Susan

Friday, December 23, 2011

No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Hello Friends,

I hope you are having a fabulous Friday. I have not done much for anything today. We officially listed our townhouse on the market, so I had to clean up and get the house ready for photos. After that I brought back out all of the stuff I "hid" from the camera.

Two of my friends called a little while ago, to do a video chat via Skype. Both of my friends are in Buffalo for Christmas and it made me wish I was there to see them in person. As the song says, There is No Place Like Home for the Holidays. I feel like I am making a post like Garden Bell - she is great at including songs and neat sayings in her posts.

Before getting into any other tasks I thought I would enjoy a cup of tea, listen to some Christmas music, and work some more on the candy can scarf.

Don't you love the tea pot? It makes a perfect brew for one person. I can get 2 cups of a smaller mug and 1.5 of a medium size mug. My "I Heart Buffalo" mug from my friend Colleen will give me a little home for the holiday :)

Have a fabulous Friday. Christmas Eve "Eve"
xoxo Susan

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Crochet Candy Cane Scarf, Christmas Cookies, and Christmas Flowers

Happy Wednesday!

Today was my first official day of break since all grades were due and submitted online by noon yesterday. My list of things to do while off is increasing like clean out closets, go through cabinets, etc., etc. but I will not be doing anything until I finish my mom's candy cane scarf. 

Right now the scarf is over halfway done. I am doing double crochet clusters of threes, 13 clusters across (wide). Two rows of each color at a time. I was thinking it may be a little too wide but my mom thought it was the perfect width, so it will be perfect for her.

I also started some Christmas cookies, which usually I make much earlier. Better late than never? I usually like to make a variety and give tins of cookies to some friends around town. The first batch were peanut butter blossoms. A peanut butter cookie ball and a Hershey's chocolate kiss on top.
These ones are made with Bisquick instead of flour and are DELICIOUS!

My only problem is the cookie part cracks when I put the kiss on top. Does anyone know why this happens? Are they too dry? They are nice and moist though, and taste delicious.

And, here is a Christmas bouquet I picked picked up at the grocery store (Publix). I thought they were great to remind me Christmas is coming and I need to finish those cookies up ASAP (as soon as possible).  As Christmas becomes only 3 days away tomorrow, I need to finish the rest of the cookies and frost some cookie cut outs.

I hope your holiday preparations are coming along nicely and you are able to find joy in the season. Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate it!
xoxo Susan

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Time to Catch Up on Projects

Hello Friends,

I am taking the day today to relax and recuperate. After today, I will catch up on other projects I need to finish up before the year comes to an end. Although classes are over and grades are just about ready to submit, I do have a meeting or two I have to partake in before Christmas. So, my break is not complete ON yet.

Early this morning I dropped my mom and dad off at the airport. They flew back to the cold weather in Buffalo, NY. Although there is no snow in the ground there right now, here is a photo my dad sent me at the end of last winter. This is their backyard view from the window in their dining room.

Snow in Buffalo, NY 2011
The temperatures here have been great, and I am sure my parents were sad to leave the warm weather and beautiful sunsets. Here is a sunset my mom snapped a photo of while they were at the beach last week.

After finishing and sending off all of those hats you saw in my last post, I have heard from some pleased customers! I have been working on a few things since then with only one finished product to share right now. A pink scarf for my mom in Lion Bran Brand Jiffy Yarn - Rose Spray. I used two full skeins. I think it could have used a little of a 3rd skein but I was finishing it last minute last night and of course the stores were closed and my parents left early this morning. So my mom said the length will be fine.

I put it on the tree for a festive photo. It looks sort of weird (I know), but I didn't get a lot of photos due to the poor lighting late last night. The color of the yarn was very nice, it is 100% acrylic and machine wash and dryable. It felt nice and thick, sure to keep you warm on a cold and snowy day. I used the infinity scarf pattern but did not connect the ends. I went until I ran out of yarn. I added a row to the beginning chain to make it look finished off like the other end.

I hope to finish a candy cane scarf by the end of this evening. I want to get this one mailed off to my mom so she can wear it before Christmas. The change in colors from red to white every other row is much more time consuming than I remembered. But - it is looking very nice.

One more thing before I get to crocheting. We visited our house today to do some sweeping. The builder sweeps but for anyone who has built a house before, you know the workers do not keep things too tidy and when it comes time to lay the carpet, they often lay the carpet pad and carpet right over all the dusk and plaster pieces. So we went to sweep up a little to make sure we are not inhaling plaster dusk for the next 30 years. Drywall is all up and the stucco on the outside is complete!

Looking up to the loft from the living room



Looking down to the living room from the top of the stairs

Family Room and Backyard View

Master Bathroom

Stucco done outside... ready for paint!

We can't wait to move in!
Well, I hope your holiday preparations are not stressing you out too much. Since we do not have any family nearby we have a quiet Christmas together. I will enjoy having some relaxation after a busy November and early December of traveling and spending time with family in Buffalo and in Florida.
Happy Sunday,
xoxo Susan

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Santa's Hat Workshop

Hello Friends,

My living room has turned into Santa's hat making workshop - well, crochet hat making workshop. I had several orders from my Etsy shop to fill and get mailed out before Christmas. So, I've been squeezing in an extra minutes I have to get these orders filled and sent out.

Some owls in pink and blue, a spiderman, a yellow bear, and some pom pom hats. The pom pom hats are very easy to make and do not require attaching of eyes like the owls or spiderman white "eye" area. I made the pink version several months ago and made my first blue one for an order.

 I used Vanna's Choice holding together a strand of Colonial Blue and Light Dusty Blue with an N/10mm hook. The hat is a quicker make, then you just make the two pom poms using both colors together and attach!

The next thing I want to show you is a stocking I made when I was around 10-12 years old. We had some yarn with red, green, and white in it - probably Red Heart Super Saver, and I made this all on my own without a pattern. I was very clever back then, I can't tell where the first chain was made or how I went about making this one. When I was in Buffalo I found it in my parent's basement and knew I needed to bring it down to my own home in Florida.

When I first moved to Florida almost 6 years ago, I was a poor doctoral student (well not super poor but you know what I mean) and I wanted to have a stocking for J but did not want to purchase one. I had some red yarn (again - Red Heart Super Saver, I used to think this was good yarn to use for crochet) and whipped up this stocking. I used Bernat's yarn for the "lace" on the trim.

I think it looks pretty good hanging considering it was a quick whip up for J's Christmas stocking.

Well, I am not going to start a career making stockings, but I have all of my hat orders complete and they were all sent off to the post office today. Now I just have to finish the rest of my Christmas cards. I did all of J's side of the cards and sent them off today. I just have to finish my list of friends and family.

Here is our Christmas tree decorated. I try to make it look a little different each year, so this year I added the white ribbon with gold trimmings on it to go with the red. Our tree is tall and thin which is perfect for the place we put it. I think the ribbons help make it look a little "fatter". Now I just have to find the rest of my ornaments - I am just not as organized this year as I usually am.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you are having a fabulous week. I've been seeing a lot of baking and Christmas decorating on the blogs. I love seeing how each person is celebrating their holiday season through crochet, crafts, and yummy goodies. We all have many similarities and unique differences. :)

xoxo Susan

P.S. Do you like my new layout for Christmas? I have been trying to change the background for a couple weeks and was finally able to do it using html code instead of uploading a photo/graphic. Now I need to keep up on it so we aren't looking at Christmas all the time!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Yellow Bear Hat and More Lion Brand Amazing Yarn

Hello Friends,

I hope you are having a great weekend so far. My parents flew in last night for a visit and they will be in Florida for 9 days. Today J had to work all day, so my parents and I had a very nice day together. They got in late last night so we had a slow start to the morning. We went over to see our soon to be new house. They were working diligently putting up drywall so we just stopped by our actually home for a little bit and then went to see the inside of the same floor plan so they could see what it will look like once it is finished. 

I had an order for a yellow bear hat with a white flower on my Etsy site. I had a pink one made, but this was my first bear hat with earflaps. The little girl loves yellow, so I hope she loves this hat too!

Here is the pink one I made:

We also popped over to A.C. Moore before heading home this evening. I got three new colors of Lion Brand Amazing Yarn: Vineyard, Pink Shades, and Joshua Tree; and some pink Lion Brand Jiffy called Rose Spray.

I am thinking I will try a new pattern for my Amazing yarn. I've been making a lot of infinity scarves with this yarn but I think something new may be nice. If it doesn't work out and I can always go back to the infinity scarf petals pattern. I may even try some with my knitting needles.

The jiffy yarn was picked by my mom. She is looking for a scarf to go with her pink jacket and thought this yarn would be just right. I have to agree, I think the yarn will make a lovely scarf to wear with her pink coat and others.

So, now I need to get to work now hooking away. I also just remembered the candy cane scarf which MUST be finished before my parents leave on Sunday (not tomorrow but next week). The candy cane scarf will be perfect for Christmas!!!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend,

xoxo Susan