Sunday, June 29, 2014

Gift Giving - Hats in a Hat Box...literally!

How sweet are these?  The hat topper and the hat box!  Perfect for gift giving.  I find that sometimes the packaging is better than the actual gift.  Such was the case with my...... 
Fortune Cookie Baby Booties (pattern under "Free Goodies" at the top of the page)...

Take a simple knit hat, top it with a store bought felt piece and pop it in a hat box!  So quick to make up and looks so much more expensive than a plain hat in a gift bag with tissue.  
If you have any of my Technicolor Series Blanket patterns in crochet, 

or knit, the hats coordinate beautifully!

I found the boxes in a local thrift store.  They are designed by Mary Engelbreit and just precious.

The felt toppers I found on sale at my local Hobby Lobby for $1.43, regularly $3.99.  The flower, above, was sewn on to the hat itself and I added my signature button.

I tacked on a hair barrette so they can be put on the side,

or top of the hat. 

The black hat is not part of the Technicolor Series, so I whipped one up to go with the box.  I know, the felt topper is not a daisy like the box, but it's fine.  Looks cute on the side, or...

on the top!

So sweet!

Don't be afraid of black for a baby!  I get many custom orders for hats and I always ask the color of the child and what hair color......I'll tell you why.  In the world of fashion and color, you can't just put any color on a baby just the same way, as adults, we know what color looks best on us.  I did a gorgeous sweater set for my friend.  She was wanting something for her cousin who was awaiting an Asian baby girl.  I told my friend, "let me make something in black and add your signature color, pink buttons!  I promise she will love it".  She did and so did my friend.  It's a great color for an Asian baby.  The orange hat toward the top of the page, is perfect for a redhead.  Black babies, so lucky, can wear any color!  

Each of these was $1.43.  Would also look cute sewn on to a solid color baby blanket to give it something special.  If you have a knitted purse, snap it on there!  Or one of your hand knit shawls or scarves!

Just sew on a snap barrette.  Easy peasy!

Have a great week!

Yarn tip:
I always have hair barrettes on hand.  They keep the tail in place on a ball of yarn.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Lovely Handmade Tea Towels and Cherry Jam

I went on a little get away last weekend to visit one of my besties in Des Moines, Iowa.  Michelle and I have been friends for 14 years.  We were neighbors when I lived in Des Moines in the early 2000's.  Our girls are the same age and played together often.  I also got in a nice dinner and drinks with my Jr. High (middle school) pals from the early 1970's.  We fell right back in like no time had gone by.  They had the same laugh and mannerisms.  I notice mannerisms so often when I'm with people I haven't seen in a long time.  The way they move their mouth when they talk.  The hand gestures and the sound of their voice.  It makes me so warm and fussy inside! 

I can't imagine what life would be like without my gal pals.  It's not that I have tons of them, but the ones I do have are cherished beyond belief.  They accept you for who you are and don't try to change you.  They are there in times of joy and great sorrow.  Good friends are crucial for my well being.  I'm a hard woman, ask anybody that knows me.  Loud and opinionated with balls of steel!  But, if you and I end up pals.....I'm loyal, loving and very fortunate, indeed, to have you in my life.  It takes great effort to be a friend.  If you put forth that effort, so will I.
I actually know of a few girls that don't have girlfriends!  I can't comprehend that.  They have acquaintances, but not a single "girlfriend" to share laughter and tears with.  I give every soon to be bride one bit of advise.....don't give up your girlfriends when you marry.  If you don't have any, get some.  You're going to need them.

Well, I digress.  Sorry about that.  On with the tea towels!

Aren't these lovely?  I just had to add some real cherries.  The crystal dish is actually for olives, but I love the skinny single look.  Des Moines has a lovely East Side that is getting better every time I visit.  More shops, bars and vintagey little stores with all kinds of goodies inside.  I had to have these tea towels from a little shop called Porch Light. Very vintage looking, but new and sturdy.  The tea towels that is!

I love the rick rack and crochet edge.  You could so do this easily yourself, but I had to have them.  As much as I would like to give them as a gift, I'm keeping them for myself.  I'm not going to worry about getting them dirty, or if the edging comes off after washing them several times.

Four towels in a beautiful "envelope" for $24.00.  The fabric is by Moda....need I say more?  I just LOVE so many of Moda's line of cotton.  If you look close, you can see a little fork attached to the hang tag.  Each towel has a ribbon sewn in the corner to hang it from a hook.  I myself, drape them on the oven handle.

The fabric used for the envelope is my fav, but they all are lovely.
Nice and thick.  One could easily use them for something other than drying your hands.  Make slip covers for your couch pillows.  Sew up a cozy for your mixer, toaster or tea pot.  Toss them on the back of your sofa where your head rests.

Kate Shaw owns Porch Light in Des Moines, Iowa at 526 East Grand Ave.  She has a great eye for all things vintage.  Her slogan is, old time is divine.  Love that!  

Here are some more designs to choose from.  

I love the texture of these.

I'm a sucker for a nice hankie!

Gorgeous little plastic totes!

Darling little books.

How cute are these bibs?

Kate was lovely.  Greeting you warmly as you came in.  Leaving you be to browse and take in all the vintage goodness!  I like that.  She has tons of yummy, retro goodies.  I have three or four shops in Des Moines that are always on my list of "must see" when I visit.  Porch Light is one of them, so if you find yourself in Des Moines, be sure to pop in and see all that Kate has to offer.

Speaking of cherries...made some jam from the cherry tree in our back yard.  I think I cooked it too long as it needs to "slack out" on the counter when I want to slather it on toast.  The plate is not actually a paper plate.  I love these and picked them up on a trip to Texas last spring.  Nice and thick, but look like a real paper plate with little bees on them.  I also have a stack of plain ones. has them.  They are called "What is it" reusable paper plate.

 Really cute with cherries and polka dots!

Love these colors!

Little ants....funny!

Ok, that's it!  Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!
Yarn tip:
To keep track of washing requirements on hand knit socks, put in a row or two of color coded yarn in the toes.  
Red=hand wash, dry flat
Yellow=machine wash, dry flat
Green=machine wash and dry
Food tip:
When you make deviled eggs, after you pour out the hot water, shake your pan back and forth so the eggs crack against the side, then let the cold water run over them.  By doing this, the cold water gets under the shell.  When you peel them, presto, the shell comes right off!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mohair Blanket With Daisies

Do you ever knit or crochet something and think..."It's cute", but I want it to be REALLY cute!
This was one of those projects.  It happens to me all the time, whether I'm painting, upholstering, knitting, crocheting or whatever, I think, well, I don't really like it that much.  When I think that, it just means it's not finished.

So I added some daises!  I whipped these up in about 15 minutes or so with a Daisy Loom!  The yarn is lovely and from Mary Maxim called Seasons in Winter.  Two skeins, a J hook and one skein of some leftover Patons Lace in Vintage Antique for the edge.

I used my signature wooden button from Etsy for a center, but any store bought button would be darling.

I just tacked them on through the center with the yarn tail.  Scattered about like they had fallen on the blanket.

Some in the colored yarn and some in the solid.

So lightweight and pretty.  You could use any of your leftover mohair in various colors and it still would delight.

I've had this loom since the ice age!  I'm not sure they make them out of brass any longer, but I think you should still be able to find one in your local craft store.

They take about 30 seconds to make just one!  You turn the knob on the back so the spokes pop out, wind your yarn...

secure the petals with the tail...

turn the knob to retract the spokes...

and off pops the daisy!

I'm heading away for a hen weekend (girls weekend) tomorrow for some much needed girl time with a bestie!
I hope you are doing something fun and yarny!

Yarn tip:
Ripping out mohair type yarn is a pain, to say the least.  Here's what I do to make the job much easier.  

Put your finger in the space between the stitches...

pull down...

then up.  Do the same all along the row.  It goes much faster!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

My Pattern Writing Journey

Look at these lovely journals I found at Michaels' for $.50 each!  I have these all over my house at the ready for any thoughts, pattern ideas, yarn samples and such.  

At 80 pages each, it's a steal!  They're also a great gift for your knitting/crochet buddy.  Buy some Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in Sunrise (bright and gorgeous as the name suggests) when you pick up the journals.  The picture doesn't show off the gold outline on some of the journals.  Whether you like things fancy or.....

a little more subdued,  they are just beautiful.  This yarn is the same brand in Polo, not as bright as Sunrise. 

I keep one in my purse, on my bedside table as I often get ideas trying to fall asleep, by "my chair", and in an empty suitcase so I won't forget one when I travel.

I love the colors in these!  It gives me an idea for a new baby blanket pattern!

Here's my very first journal!  My journey to knitwear pattern designer came about quite by accident!  Many years ago, I had some problems with my feet and needed to stay off them for long periods of time.  That didn't keep me from making my way to the fridge, however!  I had to do something to keep my hands busy.  I picked up some needles, bought some Lion Brand Homespun yarn and started knitting scarves.  Now, this was a few years before they became REALLY popular.  After knitting about  50, I thought....what am I going to do with all of these, even after I set many aside for presents.  Off to a local art gallery I went.  They loved and bought them all!  I haven't looked back since!

Here's a little fabric and crocheted halter top.  I was selling these at the local Curves I went to in early 2000.  Crocheted top, fabric bottom (little mermaid fabric on this one).  The sunglasses and pale came with the dress!  The sweet model is the daughter of the Curves owner!  Isn't she just the bomb?  I'm not big on sketching my designs.  I have an idea, go get the yarn and start.  I usually write the pattern as I go, refining it later.  This is one of the few schematics I have done.

I often gift my knitwear and am so tickled to get a photo in return!  Many times they are professionally done....what an honor for me.

I have sold these little sets at children's boutiques. This was a custom order, and the twins are little jewels!.  You can't see it, but the wee girl on the bottom has a birthmark on her cheek....the sweater and hat color match it perfectly.  When the mommy came by with the photos, I mentioned it.  She howled at that!  These are worsted weight and Boa held together throughout.

A couple more sundresses.  I need to get this pattern written up as it's too cute NOT to!

How darling is this?  I've done this in yellow.  The tot always looks like a baby chick to me!  Worsted weight yarn and eyelash held together throughout.

I have made so many of these, I've lost count.....hundreds!  I can't bring myself to make any more.  It's a shame as they are SO cute on a little person.  I do have this sweater/hat pattern available for using Lion Brand Homespun yarn, but it does not include the two yarn directions.  You can just follow the pattern using a worsted (aran) weight (4) yarn and the boa or eyelash together for the proper gauge or sizing.

I do have this pattern available.  It's not a halter, but just as cute!

you can also find my shops by clicking on the header at the top of this post

Well, that's me done for this post!  Have a great week!
Yarn tip:
Here's some illustrations for tying knots if you have to:

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