Sunday, October 12, 2014

How Can It Be October Already?

I just cannot believe how quickly this year is passing. It feels as if I just dropped off my oldest at college, but in reality it has been more than 7 weeks. Luckily, my son texts me all the time, so it doesn't feel much different from last year. He is adjusting well to living on his own, and we are all managing here without him. Although we certainly miss him.

We have been to Houston twice to visit him. While I have my own personal prejudices against the city (really long story), I do love the campus of the University of Houston. It has towering trees, beautiful art installations, and buildings of stature and distinction, plus all the amenities one could possibly want. Makes me wish I could go to college again. :)

The best part for me is how happy Morgan is:

 And just in case you thought there would be no mention of yarn in this post, guess again! :)

This is another WIP that I work on now and again. I have been hoard, ummm... saving, this yarn for awhile, and I finally had to start using it. It's Red Heart Boutique Treasure in Watercolors. I just love all the shades -- it looks like several colors but it really is only the one colorway. I'm using the Spring into Summer Blanket pattern by Felted Button (the pattern calls for a different yarn but works up beautifully with this one).

I'm also working on seasonal items. I was playing around the other day with a little ghost applique that I just couldn't get out of my head. I made 2 versions: a 'standing' ghost and a 'floaty' ghost.

I posted them on Instagram and got some requests for a pattern, so I wrote them up and here they are:

Little Ghost Applique
WW yarn 
G hook

Version 1:
Rnd 1: Magic Circle, 3 dc, 2 hdc, 3 dc, 2 hdc, all in circle, pull tight, join w/ sl st in first dc.
Rnd 2: Ch 1, 2 hdc in next 4 sts, hdc, (ch 5, sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc2tog, sc in last ch), sc in same st as hdc, (hdc, dc) in next st, 3 dc in next st, (dc, hdc) in next st, sc, (ch 4, sc in 2nd ch from hook, 2 sc in next ch, sc in last ch), hdc in same st as sc, 2 hdc in next st, sl st to join. 
Rnd 3: Ch 1, (hdc, dc), (dc, hdc), hdc in next 3 sts, (hdc, dc), (dc, hdc), sl st, finish off. Weave in ends. 

Version 2:
Rnds 1 and 2 are the same as above.
Rnd 3: Ch 1, sc, 2 hdc, (hdc, dc), 2 dc in ea of next 2 sts, ch 4, 2 sc in 2nd ch from hook, 2 hdc in next ch, 3 dc in last ch, sl st to ghost body to join, finish off. Weave in ends. 

Face: Use black yarn or thread to embroider eyes and mouth.

Please do not copy and redistribute my pattern as your own. Feel free to sell finished items -- please give me credit though for the original pattern by linking here. If you have any questions or problems with the patterns, please feel free to leave a comment here. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer Happenings

Busy -- that's the one word that describes this summer perfectly. Here we are in the last week before school starts, and as usual, I am wondering where the time went. We've made road trips to Houston (freshmen orientation for our oldest son)

(selfie at orientation!)

and also to Dallas because we just had to visit my sweet great-niece Harper!

Of course, I had to take a new crocheted gift to Harper, a sweet little crab (she's a Cancer!).

(Pattern by Awkward Soul)

My own little Cancer turned 8 this summer. He wants a crab, too. :)

While the zodiac sign Cancer reminds me of these two sweethearts and my dad, the disease cancer brings awful memories. Its insidious nature has impacted me in more ways than I can even begin to say, which I would guess is true for many people. This year I have already lost two incredible women to this dreaded disease, and four more women I know are fighting the good fight. I crocheted some caps in anticipation of hair loss for the two women who are currently getting chemotherapy treatments.

(Free pattern courtesy of Oombawka Design)

The saddest part of cancer to me is the children. In 2011, a member of my extended family was diagnosed with leukemia and died just 6 months later. Sam was 8. The next year, his family started the Samuel Szabo Foundation with the goal of raising awareness of childhood cancers, funding childhood cancer research and supporting families faced with a diagnosis of cancer in northeast Ohio. 

I have started crocheting hats and caps to donate to SSF and will be posting photos and patterns here. Please consider donating to SSF or a similar organization -- only 4% of federal funding for cancer research goes toward childhood cancers. That has to change. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

New Market Bags and a New Look

I recently added new market bags to my Etsy shop:

One of my goals this summer is to finish some of my UFOs and restock the shop. I have at least 3 more market bags that just need finishing and photographing.

I also plan on finishing this chevron scarf (true confession - I started it in 2011 - yikes!):

And I'm still working on the secret project. And I haven't touched my tunic project in weeks. Sigh.

The shop also had a new look, courtesy of my son's friend who is a talented digital graphic artist. She created a new shop banner and avatar for me. I figured a change was due after 7 years! I have also commissioned a portrait of my sons -- cannot wait to share that with you!

Monday, June 16, 2014

New Cotton Yarn Colors

I came across some new colors in the Lily Sugar n Cream cotton yarn family, and of course they were too gorgeous to pass up. I tried though (haha, not really).

(^clockwise from top left: ahoy ombre, anchors away ombre, nautical ombre, and sail away)

And I found these about three months ago:

(^calico and kitchen breeze)

So of course I dropped everything to make more african flower hexagons to add to my growing collection of unique motifs! I think with these new additions, that the hexagon count is 120.

Someday I will join these together and make the best. blanket. ever. :)

Monday, June 9, 2014

One Reveal

Finally, after crocheting for a month while trying to keep this project under wraps, I am able to reveal the big secret (well, one of them anyway):


This blanket was made for my best friend's daughter, who is graduating from high school this week and has been accepted to the University of Texas at San Antonio! I used Loops and Threads Impeccable yarn in navy, pumpkin, and white (UTSA's school colors), and I adapted the chevron pattern from Mamachee (wider and longer and different color changes). Yay, Jaclynn!

And speaking of graduations, my oldest is also graduating from high school this week. I made a wreath to celebrate this milestone:

His high school colors are red and white, and he will be attending the University of Houston in the fall. Luckily I'll be able to 'recycle' this wreath in 4 years since UH has the same school colors!

Congrats to Morgan and Jaclynn and all the other seniors in the class of 2014!
Go out and make your mark!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

More Washi!

Just wanted to share some more washi craft ideas:

 (glass candles; the labels from Yankee Candle and Bath & Body Works candles come off easily)

(washi is perfect for attaching Lego Gandalf to my monitor!)

 (a wooden letter C for my youngest son)

(a $1 picture frame transformed)

(a star-shaped chipboard box; patriotic and useful)

I also keep a washi board on Pinterest to stay inspired by other crafters. I pinned a 4th of July washi wreath the other day that I just might have to make this year!

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Although yarn is first and foremost in my crafting heart, I also have a love of washi tape, the re-positionable decorative tape that originated in Japan. The fabulous colors, the whimsical designs, the versatility! Here's a few from my collection:

I have used washi tape to decorate countless things: frames, gift tags and cards, boxes, calendars, candles, and even phone cases! It is so easy to use, relatively inexpensive, and adds a little personality to your crafting. Here's a small sampling of my washi crafting:

 (a chipboard box to hold my dry-erase markers, scrap paper, and tennis-ball-eraser-holder)

 (one of the key holders at work; the vintage key washi design was perfect!)

(two versions of the same phone case)

(big wooden clothespins for me and my bestie)

(a plain glass candle holder -- love these colors!)

I hope that inspires you to try crafting with washi, if you haven't already. :)

And just in case you thought that washi was taking up all my crafting time, let me assure you it has not. I make time every day to play with yarn. I am still working on a couple of secret projects but will be able to share them with you within a month's time. So please be patient. :) 

In the meantime, here is a little crochet star pentagon motif that I made one day recently. This is just a proto-type. I'm hoping to expand on this idea and use it for a blanket for my youngest. (On a side note, I made him a blanket for his 5th birthday. He doesn't like the 'holes' in the pattern :\ so this star blanket will be hole-free.)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Making Progress

My tunic project is sloooooowly coming along. I always end up putting projects for me aside as I work on something else for someone else.

I did start a brand-new, very colorful project that for now, must remain secret. Stay tuned. I hope to share it within the next couple of months. But in the meantime, just know that it involves this box of yarn:

One thing I can share is a pattern for a shawl that I'm crocheting for a dear friend who is ill. I ripped it out three times before I was finally satisfied with it. Here's the beginning of the shawl (Red Heart Soft yarn in Watercolors):

My big news is that I finished the second blanket for my great-niece! She will make her appearance in July, so I am way ahead of schedule on my projects for her. Yay!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Project Just For Me

Every once in awhile (about once a year), I have an itching to crochet something just for me. When I saw the cover of the Spring 2014 issue of Interweave Crochet, I knew the top shown was going to be this year's project. I literally could not stop thinking about it!

The Convergence Top pattern calls for Noro Taiyo Sock yarn, a yarn I have never worked with before. It is a blend of cotton, wool, polyamide, and silk. Because it is pricey (around $20 per skein) and the pattern calls for 3 skeins, I shopped around until I found a shop that offered about 25% off and free shipping. Yay!

The yarn arrived, and I almost panicked that they had sent the wrong colors! The skeins all look so different! But I checked the labels, and all 3 skeins are the same color mix (color #39) and the same lot number.

I'm trying to adjust to the weight of the yarn. I usually work with worsted weight, and this sock yarn is rather fine. I have had to adjust the hook size from the pattern (which concerns me greatly) because the piece I'm working seems big. BUT it does match the gauge I'm supposed to use, so cross your fingers! The colors are gorgeous, and the more I crochet, the more shades of beige and green appear.

I can't wait to finish this and wear it! Stay tuned! :)

Friday, April 4, 2014

WIPs - Blankets

I wanted to share some progress I'm making on some lovely blankets for my son and my great-niece who will arrive in July.

For my great-niece, I made this blanket (Happy throw pattern from Mamachee):

The yarn in Red Heart Soft yarn in Off White, Pink, Guacamole, Lilac, and Honey.

I am working now on a Chevron blanket (pattern by Mamachee) in White, Light Grey Heather, and a surprise color (to be revealed later)!

For my son, who is about to turn 13, a variation of the Chevron blanket in three shades of his favorite color:

I really like the ombre effect. The yarn is Red Heart Soft yarn in Seafoam, Deep Sea, and Teal.

 Truth be told, two of these blankets are "completed", except for the dreaded weaving of the ends. Of course, you can't tell that from the pictures (creative editing, haha).

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Yarnbombing...It's a Fiber Art Thing

Have you heard of Yarnbombing? It's a form of street or public art where every day items (stop signs, meters, gates, fences, statues, etc.) are covered in knitted or crocheted pieces. I found these examples on the internet:

One day on Instagram, I noticed another user named @yarnbombs so I checked him out. I recommend you do the same -- the Yarn Bomber has a website -- and just reading about his previous yarn bombing installations and his future plans for a yarn bomb at Lizard's Mouth (no lie, that's the name!) made me want to contribute what little I could. So I dug around for a failed WIP (sadly there are many) and mailed it to him. You can see it and contributions from others around the world on Instagram (@yarnbombs) or on Pinterest (Yarn Bomber). If you'd like to contribute any kind of knitted or crocheted pieces, all of the links for the Yarn Bomber include an address to send contributions. And if you are in Santa Barbara, CA, the Yarn Bomber is also looking for local help for stitching together pieces and/or helping with the installation. Go on, make the world a beautiful yarn-y place!

PS I'm on Instagram too @lavenderlizard! There I share pictures of WIPs and other fun stuff!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

28 Days

28 Days. That is how long my no-new-yarn resolution lasted. Just. 28. Days.

In my defense ('cause you know I have one), I really, really, really needed new yarn. See, I was working on a custom order of a poncho and a beret in a variegated blue yarn for a little girl. Everything was working up just fine. But when I was finished, I realized that the pieces needed solid blue to break up the variegated and I had none. (Ok, in fairness, that is not entirely truthful -- I have solid blue yarn. Lots of solid blue yarn. Trust me when I say I have every color of blue cotton yarn in Sugar 'n Cream: light blue, cornflower, mod blue, stonewash, blue jeans, indigo, bright navy, blueberry, robin's egg, and hot blue. And none, none I tell you, matched or coordinated with the variegated blue.) So I absolutely had to buy more yarn. Not my fault, really.

The good news is I ran over to Hobby Lobby and found the perfect matching colors in I Love This Cotton called Pale Denim and Stonewash. See?

So I finished the poncho and beret with the solid blues, added pom poms, fringe and a flower, and shipped them off to California. I think they worked out well.