Monday, August 24, 2009


The Amineko Crocheted Cat was in my Ravelry queue for a long time before I finally decided to make it. What spurred me to finally get around to it was the decision in our family to go ahead and (finally!) look for a kitty cat to adopt and make a part of our family. So, in between bouts of searching Petfinder I worked on Sleepy Neko for my youngest child, B.
I used some minimally processed Jacob wool for the main part of the kitty. And when I say minimally processed, I mean minimally processed! I was pulling bits of vegetation and
what I am assuming were lanolin chunks from the yarn the whole time I was working with it. If the mystery white globs weren't lanolin, then maybe the poor sheep had a monstrous case of dandruff. Needless to say, Sleepy Neko had a really thorough washing before he was stuffed and assembled. B took an instant liking to his new kitty, thank goodness! I was worried that he would do what he does with every other toy I give him - take a look and toss it over his shoulder on his way to bigger and better things.

We did find the perfect cats to join our household. Yes, I did say cats! We ended up with a gorgeous mama and baby pair.
The plan was originally to only adopt one cat, and we were looking specifically for a Russian Blue, since they shed less and
seem to be more allergy friendly. We found Georgia through Three Sisters Pet Rescue, and found out that she had her
last kitten, Dakota (Kode for short), with her still. Tim and I couldn't bear the thought of separating them, so we brought
both of them home with us. They are definitely a well bonded pair!

Kode, the kitten, is just a bundle of energy...he's right in the mix with my four kids having a blast! He's claimed me as
his official snuggler, and likes to climb right up on my chest and curl around for a good ear scratch and pampering session.
Georgia, the mama, is more reserved and wary. She's coming out around the kids more, but she spends most of her time out of
reach around them. Except when they're sleeping, that is!

Monday, August 17, 2009


*Names have been changed to protect the identities of the victims.

It was a grisly scene when I went to visit my dear old friends, the P family*. I knew something was wrong the moment I got there and the door was slightly ajar. I slowly pushed it open, calling their names.

"Mr. P? Mrs. P? Kids? Are you there?" No answer. I was worried.

I walked down the front hall and rounded the corner into the living room. It took me a moment to comprehend what I was seeing. It was awful, like something out of a mob hit. An arm here, a nose there. An ear lying on the ground next to Mrs. P's best hat.

I ran into the next room, desperate to find some sign of life in this massacre. I stopped short, too shocked to take another step. I had found Mr. and Mrs. P lying on the floor, like discarded toys. But what had been done to them was the worst part.

"What kind of sick person has been at work here?" I heard myself say out loud.

Mrs. P's wide, staring eyes had been the top of her head. Oh, and the atrocity committed against Mr. P! His ears and eyes were gone, and his remaining arm had been crudely shoved into the spot where his eyes once were.

I went off in search of the kids, praying that they weren't home...or if they had been there while their parents were tortured, were hiding under the bed or in a closet, unfound by the vicious beasts who committed this terrible crime.
My hopes were dashed when I entered the dining room. I found the kids...and the culprits, the perpetrators of evil and mayhem, still up to their dastardly deeds. They were so consumed by their violence that they didn't even notice me at first.

"Hey!" I yelled at the top of my lungs. They looked up at me, shocked that they had been caught red handed.

"What are you doing? Don't you know it's snack time?"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Do the CanCan!

I have to admit, I haven't been playing with nearly as much yarn as I usually do. In the past month, or maybe month and a half, I've only made one scarf and one shawl. I keep meaning to start more projects, but we've been rather busy lately. We took an amazing 19 day vacation to explore various parts of New England (New Hampshire is my favorite, hands down!) then swung down to DC to check out the Smithsonian. Since we got back, we've been de-cluttering our house in preparation for a yard sale.

And, in my spare time I've adopted a new hobby: Canning.

It all started with some dilly beans that I had at my friend Rachel's house while on vacation. I came home and decided that I had to make some of my own. I did, which led to canning salsa, which led to coleslaw, which led to pickled turnips, which led to blueberry jam (you can't beat 88 cents a pint for blueberries), which led to more salsa. Which I think will lead to me scouring the internet for a great deal on a pressure canner so that I can can (haha, cancan) even more food.

There is something so supremely satisfying about standing at the counter in the kitchen peeling turnips, or trimming green beans, or chopping tomatoes - all on a massive scale. There might be a little music in the background. Maybe a bit of conversation with my husband. But mostly it involves simply living in the rhythm of preparing food to put by, something that women of every generation for hundreds of years have done. Sure, canning has only been something used in more recent history, and I am definitely not expending even a scintilla of the energy my foremothers did in their efforts to ensure nutrition for their families over the winter months when the land is dormant - but I feel a connection with them nonetheless.

I'm still petting my yarn on occasion, and dreaming of new projects. For the most part, though, I'm spending my time in the kitchen for now.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Confucius Say: Crochet!

My favorite place to go for coffee is a local place called Perk on the Pike, named so because it is on Delhi Pike, the busiest street in Delhi (pronounced del-high) on the west side of Cincinnati. It has wonderful coffee and excellent food, but the best part about it is the friendliness of the owners and staff. Even my 17-month old son know that when we go to the Perk he's going to not only get a sugar cookie, but a little bit of love from whoever is behind the counter when we get there.

The Perk features art for sale from local artists, does art shows for local schools, and displays handmade goods for sale made by local artisans. So I naturally asked if I could display my book for sale, and they said to bring up some copies with a sign.

I obviously couldn't pass up an opportunity to crochet something cute, and I thought Confucius might have a wise saying for me. I loved making his bushy eyebrows, moustach, and goattee! I used some undeyed BlackBerry Ridge sportweight yarn and seperated they ply to make slightly twisty very organic looking facial hair.

In case you can't quite make out what Confucius's message is, it says: Confucius Say: A diet with too little fiber is like the Pike with no Perk to help move it along.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Table for Two

We have a lot of things in our house that came from my husband's parents. For example, our kitchen table. When Tim was a kid, his Mom would sit him on the corner of it and cut his hair, literally with a bowl on his head. We also have a child size chair and table set that was around when Tim was a kid. The chairs had been recovered several times, the latest with leftover wallpaper from their kitchen. My kids must have something against wallpaper, because shortly after we moved in they started peeling the wallpaper in the downstairs bathroom, hallway, and then the chairs. We had the walls repainted last summer, and I finally got around to taking care of the chairs.
I unscrewed the seat bases, took off the old coverings and padding and used some cotton batt that I just happened to have as well as some fabric that I've had for probably six years. I used our staple gun to secure it to the bottom of the seat bases, cut off the extra, and screwed the seats back onto the frames. It took me less than an hour total and made such a difference.

Since there are two chairs, I took pictures of what one finished looks like next to the one I hadn't done yet. My daughters wanted to sit in the chairs for the pictures, but neither wanted to sit in the unfinished chair, as you can see below. They're both happy now that they each have a nicely re-upholstered chair to sit in.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Lovely

My lovely little girl, my second daughter, has been out of sorts lately. I think she's feeling a bit left out, with her big sister graduating from preschool, big brother bringing big trophies home from Kung-Fu tournaments, and little brother just being so darn cute. So when I started a new project, I made sure that it would be one just for her.

I used the pattern Lacy Baby Frock by Lisa Gentry from the July 2008 issue of Crochet Today, but the pattern only goes to 24 months. I did a really simple upsize by just using a bigger hook and heavier yarn. This particular pattern worked really well for that and still looks absolutely adorable. I plan to make one for my older daughter at some point, but I'll have to do a little more modification to make it fit. It should be easy, though, since the pattern is so well written and simple to modify.

She didn't really want me to take her picture because she was too busy playing in the back yard, so I had to catch her on the fly. She is without a doubt an outside girl...she loves to put on her rain boots and head out to the garden to find worms after it rains!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Spider, Spider

I'll be the first person to admit that I am afraid of spiders. And when I say afraid, I mean terrified. If it's bigger around than a penny, I don't want anything to do with it. My eleven year old son kills spiders for me, and I think my five year old daughter isn't far behind. They both understand that asking Mom to kill a spider is almost as dangerous as trying to ask me a question before I've had coffee in the morning.

So, I don't know why I wanted to crochet a spider. It really doesn't make any sense to me at all, but I did it anyway. And, every time I look at it I get creeped out.

It's kind of cute in a 'I'm going to stomp on you as soon as I find boots big enough' way, dontcha think?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Speaking of food...

I love the springtime - it's exciting to get seeds started for the
garden and work outside getting the garden ready. The only problem is
that the rain gets in the way! Tim has managed to till a little bit
here and there, and the addition of 6 cubic yards of new topsoil made
the job a little bit easier. He's planted the corn and the crookneck
zucchini plants already. I'm waiting for a semi-nice day to get our
cold-resistant tomatoes out there and off of the buffet in the dining

This year the plan is to grow swiss chard (which may or may not work, we're late planting it) roma tomatoes, cold set tomatoes, zucchini, corn, yellow and green beans, strawberries, basil, cilantro, rosemary, mint, parsley...and something else, but I forgot what (oh the joy of mommy brain!) I have a notoriously non-green thumb, so I think I'm going to have Tim do the planting and I'll just try to take care of the maintenance.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Spring is here, and we've been really busy getting the garden in shape for planting. Before we know it, summer will be on us and we'll be enjoying the fruits of our labor. One of the best treats of summer is watermelon, in my opinion. Naturally sweet, healthy, and fun - it's part of almost every back yard barbecue and picnic. We've still got a while to wait before we can enjoy the real thing, but here is a pattern for a little watermelon wedge that you can enjoy while you wait!

Watermelon Wedge

Worsted weight yarns in red, white, green, and black.
G hook
polyester fiberfill or other fill
yarn needle
Make 2
With red, ch 2
1. Work 2 sc in second ch from hook. Ch 1, turn.
2. Sc in each sc. Ch 1, turn. (2 sc)
3. Inc in each sc. Ch 1, turn. (4 sc)
4. Inc in first sc, sc across to last sc, inc in last sc. Ch 1, turn. (6 sc)
5. Sc in each sc across. Ch 1, turn. (6 sc)
6. Inc in first sc, sc across to last sc, inc in last sc. Ch 1, turn. (8 sc)
7. Inc in first sc, sc across to last sc, inc in last sc. Ch 1, turn. (10 sc)
8. Sc in each sc across. Ch 1, turn. (10 sc)
9. Inc in first sc, sc across to last sc, inc in last sc. Ch 1, turn. (12 sc)
10. Inc in first sc, sc across to last sc, inc in last sc. Ch 1, turn. (14 sc)
11. Sc in each sc across. Ch 1, turn. (14 sc)
12. Inc in first sc, sc across to last sc, inc in last sc. Ch 1, turn. (16 sc)
13. Inc in first sc, sc across to last sc, inc in last sc. Ch 1, turn. (18 sc)
14. Sc in each sc across. Ch 1, turn. (18 sc)
15. Inc in first sc, sc across to last sc, inc in last sc. Ch 1, turn. (20 sc)
16. Inc in first sc, sc across to last sc, inc in last sc. Ch 1, turn. (22 sc)
17. Sc in each sc across. Ch 1, turn. (22 sc)
18. Sc in first 9 sc, inc in each of the next 4 sc, sc in last 9 sc. Sw to white. Ch 1, turn. (26 sc)
19. Sc in each sc across. Sw to green. Ch 1, turn. (26 sc)
20. Sc in each sc across. Break off yarn. (this is the right side)
Using black yarn, make seeds on the right sides of the front and back by backstitching several times in the same spot. Make as many or as few seeds as you like.
With red, ch 6
1. Sc in each sc across. Ch 1, turn. (5 sc)
2 - 18. Sc in each sc across. Sw to white yarn. Ch 1, turn.
19. Sc in each sc across. Sw to green yarn. Ch 1, turn.
20. sc in each sc across. ch 1, turn.
21 - 47. Sc in each sc across. Sw to white yarn. Ch 1, turn.
48. Sc in each sc across. Sw to red yarn. Ch 1, turn.
49. Sc in each sc across. Ch 1, turn.
50 - 68. Sc in each sc across. Break off yarn, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Sew the side piece to one of the front/back pieces starting at the tip and working your way around. I whipstitched, but use whatever joining method you like. Sew the other front/back piece to the other side, stuffing before it is fully closed. Break off yarn and weave in ends.

Have fun!

Friday, April 3, 2009


Well, I spoke too soon. We had yet another weekend of another stomach virus, starting with the baby and hitting everyone except for the eleven year old. I finally broke down and used bleach and disinfectants to clean everything. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate using chemicals to clean, but after months of doctor visits and general misery, I just had to do something to try and prevent my family from going through all of this again.

Right before the last one struck, I finished up a small knitting project. Now, I'm not a skilled knitter. I just recently taught myself and my FO list is rather small and simple. But I had just a little bit of yarn leftover from a soaker I made for my 15 month old and it was so pretty that I couldn't just let it sit. So I just decided to cast on and start knitting and see what it would become!

I just knit in stockinette, throwing in a couple of rows of garter stitch in the trim color here and there, and decided that it would make a nice little pouch bag clutch type thingy to keep stuff in. I had the perfect button for it in my sewing box, and I found a fat quarter of cute spotted fabric that matched it pretty well to sew inside for a liner.

I had to hand sew the liner in since I don't have a machine (I broke the last one I had and just decided to give up on learning to sew for the time being).

So, it was a fun little project, but I've got to say that I don't think knitting is ever really going to do it for me the way crochet does. It's nice and all, but it's not nearly as fun IMHO. I'll keep on knitting so that I'll be able to make some of the great combo pieces I've seen, but it will never ever replace crocheting as my fiber art of choice!

BTW, the gorgeous yarn I used is DoodleBirds Beach Vacation colorway on Marvelous Merino.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Does life really imitate art? Or is it the other way around?

Do you ever have those days when it feels like banging your head against the wall would actually be more productive than the way things are going at that moment? I think everyone does sometimes, but boy...this month is like that!
In the past 30 days we've had stomach bugs, respiratory viruses, an ear infection, a whooping cough scare, etcetera etcetera. It finally seems like it might be ending (knock on wood), and I'm trying to ease my way back into my dreamy world of yarn love. I even had a wonderful blog post all typed up in Notebook sitting open on my screen before I was called away to do something Mom-ish and responsible. By the time I was able to get back to the computer several hours later it was gone! My oldest child had something school related to do and in his zeal for closing programs he closed my (unsaved) blog post. I know it's my own fault for not saving it (bang head on wall), but it certainly makes me feel less guilty for tormenting my unsuspecting son with chicken-butt jokes. All. The. Time. OK, maybe he closed it on purpose.

But now, you'll never know about my secret project, or how I gave buying yarn up for Lent (the horror!), or the gorgeous soaker I knit for Bennie, or the free pattern that I'll be posting soon.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Don't Sweat It!

Recently when I was cleaning out my closet (that's a whole 'nother post in itself) I came across the very first sweater I ever crocheted. I'm not entirely sure why it was in there, unless it was to keep the other clothes that I never wear company. I made the sweater originally for my oldest child when he was 7 years old. I was really excited about this project - I picked out yarn in C's favorite color and set to work making what was sure to be the most beautiful hand made sweater ever. I'll admit that I was a little overconfident, kind of like the people featured in American Idol's season opening show.
So, I made the front and the back, the sleeves, and the ribbing for the waist, cuffs, and neck. I put it all together....and this is what I got:

Wow, it really turned out to be a disaster. As you can probably tell, I failed to do a gauge swatch. I think I may have changed hook sizes in inappropriate places as well. When I discovered this little treasure hiding away in my closet, I thought it was inside out. But no, my seaming was really that bad.
And note how the neck is barely bigger than the wrists. It never would have fit my son. Well, unless he looked like this guy

I learned several lessons from this unfortunate bit of stitchery, and luckily my crocheting has come a loooong way since I made this disaster. I think I may finally send it to the sweater cemetery and make room in my closet for something else.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Phat Fiber

Phat Fiber is the Shiznit, yo. And I don't just call anything
the Shiznit.
Phat Fiber makes available every month a 'mystery box' for people like
me who are slightly obsessed with all things related to yarn and fiber.
You know, the people who go slightly teary eyed at the thought of
Cashmere and Merino all twisted around together like the most perfect
lovers in the world, just waiting for the right person to come along
and work them up into something even more magical. The people like me
who aren't afraid to stand up and say "My name is Rose, and I'm a
So, each box contains a myriad of samples sent in from different indie
artisans. One can choose between the regular box (which has everything
from roving to batts to yarn, stitch markers and more) or the 'stitches
only' box for people like me who don't spin or needle felt. It contains
the same amount of samples, but doesn't include the fiber for spinning
and felting.
I got mine first one today, and Wow! I am impressed!

February's theme was romance and chocolate, so my box included lots of
yummy samples of yarn in pink colorways, and a couple of brown too. I got knitting stitch markers (while I am mainly a crocheter, I'll have to start a knitting project soon just so I can use those gorgeous markers), lovely shea butter cream, a knitting graphic novel (how cool is that!) and lots of discount codes that I am definitely going to take advantage of.

Two of my favorite things from this box:
A, beyond gorgeous shawl pin,

and this chocolate covered spoon that made me say "Hello, Lover" out loud, much to my embarrassment.
I encourage all of you to mosey on over to the Phat Fiber web site and join the mailing list to find out when the next box will be available. You won't be disappointed!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Ah, yes. Love is in the air. I finally finished Wubbzy for my second daughter, S. It was supposed to be a Christmas present, but it didn't quite turn out that way.
Annnnyway...S loves her Wubbzy, and the Wubbzter loves his (her?) S. And L loves trying to squeeze her way into the picture.

I hope everyone has a lovely Valentine's day! Eat lots of chocolate! Give lots of kisses!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Pokeball, Go!

I have a gift for all of you Pokemon lovers (or parents of Pokemon lovers out there) in Cyberspace.
But first, a little back story: My two oldest children are ever-so-slightly obsessed with Pokemon. They are also obsessed with throwing things at each other while yelling "Charizard, use Flamethrower!", or "Thunderbolt, Pikachu!" Needless to say, I got sick of the younger one screeching about being hit in the forehead with a plastic Pokeball so I decided to make a slightly softer version. Below, after the little story (made with my oldest son's help as well as a loan of some of his toys), you'll find a super-easy pattern for making your own Pokeball!

It was early in the morning, and Ash and Pikachu were preparing to enter the Safari Zone, when suddenly the spotted a Chansey! Ash realized that this could be a once in a lifetime chance to catch the elusive Pokemon who is said to bring happiness to it's owner.

Ash sent Pikachu out to prepare to battle in the hopes that he could weaken Chansey enough to catch him with his Pokeball. (He does, after all, gotta catch 'em all!)

"Pikachu, use thunderbolt!"

Chansey was down, and Ash threw out his Pokeball in an effort to capture the much coveted Pokemon. No! A miss! Try again, Ash!

Phew! Persistence is a good thing, and Ash's was rewarded with a new Pokemon to call his own!
Crocheted Pokeball Pattern

Small amount each of red, black, and white worsted weight yarn.
G hook
Fiberfill or stuffing material of your choice.
Yarn needle
Stitch marker

Note: This pattern is worked in continuous rounds, so be sure to place your stitch marker in the first st of each row to avoid losing your place!
With white yarn, ch2.
Round 1: Work 8 sc in second ch from hook.
Round 2: Inc in each sc around. (16 sc)
Round 3: (Sc in next sc, inc in next) around. (24sc)
Round 4: (Sc in next two sc, inc in next) around. (32sc)
Rounds 5-8: Sc in each sc around. Sw to black yarn.
Round 9: Sc in each sc around. Break off yarn, leaving a long tail for sewing.
With red yarn, ch 2.
Repeat rounds 1-8 as for first half. Break off yarn, weave in ends.
Using long tail, sew the two halves together, stuffing firmly before fully closed. Weave in ends.

With white yarn, ch 2.
Round 1: Work 6 sc in second ch from hook. Join with sl st to first sc. Break off yarn.
Round 2. Join black yarn in any sc. Inc in each sc around. (10 sc). Break off yarn, leaving a long tail for sewing.
Attach the button to middle of the ball right over where you did your color changes. Weave in ends.

Now go throw it at somebody!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snow Day!

We got our first 'real' snow of the winter overnight last night and this morning. Of course, C was off of school and while Tim had to be at work for a presentation, he was able to come home early to avoid the ice that was predicted for the evening. Tim took the three older kids outside to play in the snow while B and I watched from the dining room window.

C and L are hiding from Tim and S behind an awesome snow fort! I would have gotten better pictures from a different angle, but that would have meant bundling up myself and the baby and going outside. I chose to live vicariously through them, instead ;-)

While they were playing outside, I decided to make some hot chocolate. My older sister, Susan, gave me a brick of Abuelita's hot chocolate mix that she brought back with her from Mexico where she went to visit her husband's family over the holidays. The whole label was written in Spanish, which wasn't a problem since I can understand it pretty well. The hurdle I had to overcome was that there weren't any instructions on it, anywhere! I decided to just toss the whole thing in there and pour in about 1/4 gallon of milk. It turned out pretty good!

At least, C and S thought so! I love the way the kids look, all rosy cheeked and messy haired when then come in from the outside.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tasty Crochet - the book!

Last week I got my first advance copy of Tasty Crochet: A Pantry Full of Patterns for 33 Yummy Treats Let me tell you, I was so excited when I finally had that book in my grubby little paws! I'd been waiting for that moment for a year...and I wasn't disappointed. North Light did such an amazing job with the book...the photos are great and the layout and mood is fun and silly just like I'd imagined.

I couldn't decide which picture I liked best for this blog post. I threw in the carrot because, unlike me, it is quite photogenic. The goal was to draw attention away from my goofy grin, but I think that I may need to crochet a face cozy and become the 'Stealth Crocheter' of teh intarwebs :D

Just a little over a month, and Tasty Crochet will be available everywhere! The official date is 3/1/2009 (if I'm not mistaken...sometimes important details get lost in the mush of my Mommy brain). I hope everyone has as much fun making the foodies in my book as I did!!