Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday Crochet Lunches

Good Morning,

My back is feeling much better today so I am ready to be back in business. Some of the ladies at work were interested in learning to read one of the crochet diagrams so we decided we should meet on Thursdays at lunch time. We are all currently working on other projects so we won't be crocheting the diagram C was hoping to learn. Our plan is to simply share our current projects, oh and ah over them and crochet while we eat lunch. Sounds funny doesn't it? After many scheduling conflicts, today should be our first day. Keep your fingers crossed we make it happen!

So I packed my bag with my granny strip and Japanese flower blanket.

I am bringing yarn to work on the granny stripe, and I am just bringing the flower blanket to show them.

Outside in my garden, I had to trim down my hibiscus plants this week to allow them to get thicker and full of flowers. I hated having to trim branches with flowers budding, so I thought I could salvage them and place them in a vase with water. I didn't know if they would still bloom or not, but they are blooming and looking lovely.

I hope you have a fabulous Thursday and are able to stop for a few minutes and enjoy the beautiful day.
xoxo Susan

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More for the flower blanket

Good Morning,

Last night I was hooking away at the Japanese flower blanket. As I added more flowers to the blanket, I draped the existing flowers over my legs and noticed the blanket really is hole-y. Many ladies on the Flower Bed blog are adding flowers in between the Japanese flowers. To be honest, I really do not like the way the blanket looks with little bits added in between the main Japanese flowers. I am starting to wonder if I should work on the granny stripe and give that one as the gift instead of the Japanese flower blanket. The flowers still make a lovely blanket but for people who live in a colder climate and will want and need to use the blanket for great warmth, I am worried the blanket may just be decoration.

J's arm is in there - he came home earlier than I expected and was clearing the yarn from his side of the bed.
 Maybe I will just wait and see when the blanket is finished. I know my mom will love it if I give it to her instead of the folks it is planned for as a surprise. So I will just have to wait and see.
Today I have a lot of research to do so I better get back to work. I hope your day is filled with fun.
xoxo Susan

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Slowly but Surely

Good Morning,

Photos are now back in action on blogger! For the last two days photos were not showing up on the blogger blogs, which makes posts not as lovely. Now we can all see what everyone has been up to. I think photos really help viewers get a feel for the pieces of life being blogged. I have been waiting to share some updated photos of my flower blanket.

Very early this morning I made a fast movement in my sleep and pulled a muscle along my spine. I ended up having to get up at around 5:00am because it was too uncomfortable to lay down. Luckily I can still type so I can get a lot of work done today, and hopefully crochet this evening too. My back has done this before but luckily at last three months have gone by since my last episode. Fortunately, I have some fabulous sun flowers to cheer me up!

I hope you have some real or crocheted flowers in your life.
Have a fabulous day!!
xoxo Susan

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Granny Stripes and Chocolate

Good Morning,

I am finally feeling a little bit back on track with things since I have been able to catch up on some crocheting this weekend. I've been working on the Japanese flower cover/blanket this weekend and I also added a few rows to the granny stripe. The longer the granny stripe gets the more I like it. The granny stripe is nice and cozy underneath. Even with the spaces between the clusters, this will still be a super warm blanket.

Last week while my friend Colleen visited, we stopped by Norman Love's salon to get some yummy treats. This was actually my first time visiting Norman Love because J and I were slightly mis-directed last time we tried to find it. After visiting for the first time, I have a feeling I will be making many many visits there. I didn't tell Colleen the name of the "chocolate place" we were going to because I wasn't aware of Norman Love's popularity. She was very excited to stop by their store as it is the only storefront location and she is a pastry chef herself. Unfortunately Norman was not in the shop that day, so she wasn't able to meet him. Maybe next time.

Colleen outside of Norman Love's

My yummy treats

We enjoyed some scummy goodies. I got a brownie pop, turtle rounds (carmel, peanuts, and chocolate) and a milk chocolate bar. Colleen purchased some bon bons in a variety of flavors which I didn't get a photo of, but they were quite impressive. The mango one was divine!

Well I am off to go enjoy the gorgeous day outside. I hope you have some sunshine near you.
xoxo Susan

Friday, March 25, 2011

Vera Bradley Fall 2011 Pattern - Mocha Rouge

Good Morning Lovelies,

As I forewarned, this has been a busy week and I have not been able to do any crocheting (hopefully this weekend I can make up for it). So, today I am going to give another sneak peak at one of the Vera Bradley Fall 2011 Patterns. Yesterday the Summer 2011 patterns hit the stores. Did you go and check them out? Unfortunately I was not able to get out to see them yet, another thing on the list for this weekend.

Last week I shared Plum Petals, which is a nice purple-y pattern. Today I am sharing Mocha Rouge. This one has brown back tones and white, light pink, and dark pink flowers. I suspect this one will be very popular with young women and girls. Very cute!

I like this pattern and look forward to seeing how it looks on all of the different shaped bags. The insight of the bag is cute too. What do you think?
I must run to finish off the week at work. I look forward to relaxing on the lanai and crocheting very soon...
xoxo Susan

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Embraceable Wraps - Helping Women Who are Experiencing Cancer

Good Morning Lovelies,

My childhood friend Colleen is visiting me this week, the one who learned to crochet with me when we were around 9 or 10 years old! I couldn't wait to show her my current WIPs as neither of us crocheted for many years and we are both back at it. Her mom taught us both to crochet and we both picked it right up and went to town.

Due to Colleen's arrival, I realized I did not share the Embraceable Wraps info in a timely manner. Embraceable Wraps is an organization consisting of women helping other women. Women who are experience woman cancers are provided with shawls, scarves, hats, and blankets knitted and/or crocheted by other women. I love the idea of women helping other women by showing your love and support through knitting and crocheting! If you are interested in finding out more information, check out their website.

Here is Southwest FL, we are starting a chapter of Embraceable Wraps. This will be the first formal chapter of many more to follow. Are you interested in knitting or crocheting a shawl, scarf, hat, or lap blanket for a woman who is experiencing cancer? If you would like to be included in our email group please send an email to: You do not have to live in Florida or even the USA to help out!

Before I pop out for today, many flowers are in bloom in my garden and I wanted to share some with you. Although we have been experiencing warm temperatures for quite some time now, Spring really is here and the flowers are letting us know.
My hanging plant basket near the front door

Morning Glories are always a delight

And of course a friendly bird strolling around the pond
Well I hope you have a fabulous day. I am trying to squeeze in as much time as possible to work on the Japanese flower blanket, because that deadline is ticking away... I should have some updates for you soon.
xoxo Susan

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Flowery Saturday

Good Morning,
After a long week, I am going to spend my morning out on the lanai working on the Japanese flower blanket. Last night was the deadline for submitting proposals for one of the national conferences I attend every year so this week was extra busy preparing proposals to submit. The conference will be held in November in Anaheim California. I have never been to California so I look forward to it very much.

Back to crochet: I feel like the flower blanket/cover is getting larger and I can see progress being made. Although I have a feeling to get to the next big chunk of it done will take quite a while. I usually make a few white centers and then do the petals. I think I will try to make ten more today white centers today and complete at least five of those ten into flowers. Who knows maybe I will get all ten into flowers!

I am going to add more blue flowers. Right now there are four different shades of blue, although the two or three darker ones are hard to tell apart in the photographs. I am making this as a surprise gift and I think the home it will live in will look great with more blue flowers with the other colors mixed in.

The sun is shining and it looks like we are in for another beautiful day in the mid to high eighties (degrees F). I am not sure what else we will venture out and do today. J keeps mentioning mini-golf, or going to ride on this mountain bike trail we heard about, but I would like to play tennis. So we will see what activities we do today. Tomorrow I am going to share with you some information about a great charity that supports women who are experiencing cancer. The charity is called Embraceable Wraps for those who just can't wait for tomorrow.

Happy Saturday
xoxo Susan

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day and Vintage Crochet Books

Good Morning Lovelies,

Today is St. Patrick's Day here in the USA. I need to make sure I put on something green before I leave for work or my mother would not be happy if she knew I did not wear green on St. Patrick's Day. As far as St. Patrick's Day festivities we do not have anything specific planned. We've had our corned beef and cabbage dinners and enjoyed some Irish music over the last two weeks, which always tastes extra good this time of year. This evening I think I will eat some fish and and chips for dinner, a true Irish meal.

I have been working on my Japanese flower cover (white centers) but I am going to hold off showing my progress for another day. It is looking quite nice. I am making this one as a gift and it will be sad seeing it go away. But I know the receivers will enjoy it as much as I do. I won't say who the blanket is for in case they are reading (I do not think they read my blog, but you never know).

The other day I came across another crochet book to add to my small collection. I visit the charity shops looking for old vintage books as I always love reading about the great finds everyone else has in their local charity shops. I was able to get each book for only $1.99!!! If it would have been the dicount day of the color of the price sticker it would have been only $1. Once I tried waiting for a great collection of 10 crochet and knit books and I missed out, so now if I want it, I just pay the full price of $1.99 (which of course is still a great deal).  

The book on the left is not vintage, the copyright is 2005, but the one on the right is 1979. Inside the vintage Complete Guide to Needlework book, someone named Eva wrote a note to someone named Sue (Eva must have given Sue the book as a gift) and indicated the year was 1982. Well, my name is also Sue and 1982 was the year I was born, so I just had to buy this book!! Plus the book had some crochet patterns and techniques I am not familiar with yet, so that was the main reason, but I love those other little things about it too. Hopefully this weekend I will have sometime to try some of the new stitches.  

And to give you some green for St. Patrick's Day today. Last night as J and I returned from our nightly run, we saw a HUGE frog hopping in the neighbor's driveway. Although he isn't looking super green or super huge in the photos. We used to see this large frog last spring, summer, and fall, but we had not seen him over the winter. We are glad to know he is back and survived some cold winter days for Florida. J and I and the neighbors refer to him as "Big Daddy" because he is the largest frog we've seen around the community (and little baby frogs will be coming soon, we see the tadpoles in the water).

Well, I must be off to get ready for work. I hope you enjoy St. Patrick's Day and maybe if you are lucky you will find your pot of gold at the end of a rainbow  ;-)
xoxo Susan

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Vera Bradley Fall 2011 Pattern - Plum Petals

Hello Ladies,

Well, here we go.... I am going to start posting the Fall 2011 Vera Bradley patterns. I was going to wait until the Spring ones come out (next week!) but so many people have been checking around for the fall ones and I just can't hold my own excitement in any longer, I want to share them with you.

So, today is the first one, Plum Petals. I really like this pattern inside and out. Even those who don't usually like purple may find this one to be nice. I know some people commented on the fall colors not being "fall" enough. I guess I am lucky because in Florida we don't really have a fall/autumn - although it is what I miss the most about not living up north.

Upon my first sight of this pattern I instantly wanted to add it to my collection, and I think I still will, but I am not sure which bag I will purchase this pattern in. I am not sure about new bags coming out in the fall, just the patterns. I like the other three patterns as well, but this one is one of my favs.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the extra sneak preview of the Vera Bradley Fall 2011 collection. I will display the other three as the weeks go on. My schedule has limited my crochet time this week so you just may get another sneak peak before the week ends.
Have a fabulous day,
xoxo Susan

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japanese Flower Blanket Emerging

Yesterday morning we had to "spring" our clocks ahead one hour. I am in the eastern part of the USA, standard eastern time. This means we lose an hour of sleep/day today. Although it is just one hour, I think everyone notices and feels the hour lost. I was able to make a few more Japanese flowers for my blanket and I want to share them with you today. I hope you have some more time to work on it this evening, but I am afraid this week is quite busy and I may not be able to get any crochet done today.

I am really happy with the colors so far. I think the white centeres and the multi-colored petals work well for this! Even J commented on the colors. I am using Vanna's Choice Lions Brand. Well I better get back to work. Luckily the sun is shining and the little birdies outside are chirping.
I hope you have a fabulous day!
xoxo Susan

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Flowery Weekend

Hello Lovelies,
This morning I woke up early to get right down to come crochet business. The flower cover I started a few weeks ago with the beautiful Japanese crochet flowers posed some problems for me regarding color selection. After seeing many beautiful examples on the Flower Bed. I decided my next one is going to have 2 color flowers only, and since I am making all of the centers white, I guess the flowers could be considered one color.
So, I started working on my new Japanese flower cover this morning. I am very happy with the white centers and the same color for the entire petal.

Using less colors also means less ends to weave in, which if you are a regular reader you already know I dread weaving in the ends. I like to weave them in as I go so it looks cleaner when I examine my progress, but this slows down the making progress part a little bit. Weaving as you go does not take more time in the long run though.

I also need to work on the granny stripe blanket this weekend. I have been neglecting it over the last couple weeks. The temperature dropped a bit here so I have been able to use my ripple and granny garden blankets to keep my legs warm as I crochet, and I have been enjoying every minute of it.

I don't know if I will ever get enough of crocheting flowers. J works every Saturday, so in between getting research and teaching work done, I usually spend the morning hooking away. I am going to cook some corned beef and cabbage for dinner tonight in honor of St. Patrick's Day week coming up. We had some last Friday at the Irish Festival but I have been craving some more.
Happy Saturday
xoxo Susan

Friday, March 11, 2011

Variety of Crochet Flowers

Good Morning Lovelies,
Another weekend is just about here and I am looking forward to it very much. Although I was on spring break this week, I feel like the days are slipping away quickly. Our spring break was a week later this year which means we have one week less to go before the semester is over. J and I are trying to decide where we should go for our summer trip this year, any suggestions???

This afternoon I have a crochet meeting with one of my colleagues at work. We have a new project brewing and we are both very excited about it. I don't want to spill the beans yet, but I will be sharing all the lovely details because you may want to be involved.

Over the last several weeks some great flower varieties have been showing up on the Flower Bed blog. I've been wanting to try the layered Japanese flower and yesterday I finally did. I started with the back petals first and worked my way forward with the middle and inner petals, is this how other people do it? As I was making them I thought it may be easier to do the inner petals first, I will try this for the next one.

The layers do take quite a bit of time. Since the petals take up the most time when making a regular Japanese flower, the amount of time to make a layered one is at least doubled. I am not sure yet what I will do with the layer one(s) but as you know, I just love making flowers!

I was trying to make more Japanese flowers for my cover so I made five inner circles in five different colors (I like the assembly line method sometimes for these things). Well, I accidentally used a hook one size smaller than the one I used when I made the existing flowers. This meant the circles I made were a tad too small and the petals would not line up for connecting. So I have one slightly too small Japanese flower, and four slightly too small centers. I decided to try a combination of other flower patterns I have seen (the one came from Le Monde de Sucrette's blog) and made the flower below with the periwinkle middle and pink petals (top one). Her original pattern didn't have such a large middle. I will make one following her pattern to you can see the difference, it is a lovely little flower and her scarf is beautiful.

Well, we had a nice sky last night as the sun was going down and I couldn't help myself, I had to take a photo to share. This is the sky opposite the sunset. The trees were in the way so I couldn't get the actual sunset. 

Oh, one last thing. I forgot to share the photo of McKenna's hat after I added a few more rows. She looked simply divine!

I hope you have a fabulous Friday today. Today I am having lunch with a friend at our favorite Mexican restaurant, a meeting about a new crochet project, and then a presentation on action research for some of our undergraduate students, a nice Friday.
Take some time to enjoy the outdoors.
xoxo Susan 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vera Bradley Summer 2011 Pattern Watercolor

Good Morning Ladies,

I feel very tired this morning, maybe because I haven't really had time to crochet in three whole days! I did add some rows to baby McKenna's hat yesterday morning, but other than that I haven't been able to work on anything. After my conference call this morning I will be spending time today for some much needed relaxation and crochet time -- I am on spring break right? For those of you who may not be familiar with the term spring break, it is our middle of the semester "holiday" at my university. We get a week off at my university for spring break. Although I don't really have the whole week off from teaching, I do have to go into work on Friday to make a presentation to students who are on an alternative semester schedule.

Well the Vera Bradley Summer 2011 patterns are receiving so many views I just cannot believe it. I used to always search around to see what was coming next so I am happy to be able to provide a sneak preview for everyone, although it does seem like many people have samples of the little cosmetic bags out there on the world wide web. Today is the last pattern for Summer 2011, available online and in stores on March 24th (correct, I saw the date on OhMyVera's blog this moring). The pattern is called Watercolor.

Watercolor Pattern

Inside pattern and Border

If you want to see any of the other patterns, I have posted them over the last couple of weeks: English Meadow, Daisy Deco, and Viva la Vera. I really like Water color but I am not sure if I will purchase a bag in this pattern. I really like all four patterns for Summer 2011. Sometimes there are patterns I am not a big fan of but this go around I think they are all nice. Now, I have a surprise!!! Yesterday I saw the Fall 2011 Vera Bradley patterns, and ladies - ALL four are AMAZING. I love all four of them. I can't believe it. Stay tuned for upcoming posts for the Fall 2011 Vera Bradley patterns. Now that I saw the four fall patterns I am not sure if I will purchase any summer ones because I really want to purchase one bag in each of the four fall ones. Decisions, decisions....  

Well all of the flowers on the Vera Bags remind me I need to get cracking on crocheting more flowers for my flower projects to share on the flower bed blog. Please check out The Flower Bed blog to see all of the beautiful flowers all of the ladies have been making.
Happy Wednesday!
XOXO Susan

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Baby Blanket and Baby Hat on McKenna

Good Morning,
I am visiting with McKenna and her mommy! The little white hat I made McKenna needs some adjusting. After putting it on her little head, we discovered hear head is bigger than we thought! I am going to add a few rows later this morning and take a new photo to see if it looks better). Here are some shots of her with the blanket and hat.
So you can see the hat just looks a little odd. We were laughing hysterically each time we put it on her. For some reason it just looks really funny. Hopefully adding a few rows will help. I think it is too short, her little ears show. Her little headband is still a little too big and I just couldn't wake her while she was sleeping. She really will sleep through anything. BUT, I already moved her around all over the place trying to get good shots and I didn't want the little pumpkin to have to be moved around again.

I was determined to get a good yawn shot. It was tricky!

She looks like one of those little sleeping dolls.

The pink background blanket was knitted by a teacher who works with the baby's mommy. Very nice!

Look at those little lips. The blue blanket around her was knitted and has adorable little ducks on it (knitted by Penny)
Well, baby McKenna has finally made her debut. She was 2 weeks old yesterday. I hope you enjoyed seeing the little bundle of joy. So far she has been such a good baby - all she does is eat, sleep, and need her diaper changed. Well I hope you are having a great week so far. My university is on Spring Break this week!!! I am enjoying it very much so far but after today it will be back to getting a lot of work time. Proposals to submit and manuscripts to write.
XOXO Susan