Friday, April 23, 2010

My very fascinating Fascinator...

The always creative& fun Jennifer over at Desert Garden Farms  on Ravelry, comes up with some zany activities  which I simply can NOT resist. The most current endeavor was the Easter Fascinator swap. Since many of us were busy at or around Easter, the swap just ended today, whereby we are SUPPOSED to be mailing our items out by this day.

My swap partner, whom I have been lucky enough to have as my swapper twice now, is such a thoughtful and creative person. And frankly would make a good detective as she sent items to me that I LOVE and had not been overly verbal about. Case in point is the Ukrainian egg kit! I love this and had stated last year, on this blog, as an aside, that I wanted to learn this craft. Well, now I can thanks to my swapper pal!!

Another time she made notecards with special photos from this blog. And she sent lavender items & special stone ground grits &  yarn with blue in it both times. All items that I adore!

Then there's the fascinator itself...OH MY GOODNESS!! It's fantastic!! Check it out for yourself. It's a small top hat complete with a beautiful net rose and tastefully arranged feathers. I haven't taken a photo of me modeling it yet as it needs special makeup, hair and setting to do the piece justice. She even sent fascinator clips for my sisters to wear as we are getting together for a reunion in the very near future.They are going to love these. My special swap buddy topped the project off  with a custom made, fabric covered hat box in order to keep my fascinator looking pristine, perky and dust free. Wow! She is the BEST!!

Now, I've got some more beading to do to mine and I'm supposed to mail it when?? Happy Friday y'all!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We have a winner!!

At 12 noon straight up, I chose a winner through a random number generator, for the Stacey Trock "Cuddly Crochet" book , Stitch Nation yarn and Etimo hook. The winner is the Ped. Thanks to ALL of you who took the time to comment! Hope to see you around here some more & on Ravelry.

The Ped, please contact me at  nanderson360 so I can get your address.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Saturday morning at the pier part 2....

My Saturday morning "coffee buddy" and I decided to take it outside again this Saturday, which makes us wonder why in the heck we don't do this EVERY Saturday morning. Fairhope is such a beautiful town and the pier park is well maintained and beautiful.  But I do have a tendency towards laziness at times.

This week we saw more patient "fishermen", only this time it was a blue herring, with an equally scary looking beak. On second thought perhaps his beak was a little scarier than last week's pelican as it was sharper looking.

Thanks to all of you who have commented and entered the Stacey Trock "Cuddly Crochet" book give-away! Drawing ends tomorrow at 12 noon (EDT) with winner selected by random number generator. Good luck y'all!

Friday, April 16, 2010

TGIF and more about The Cuddly Crochet giveaway...

Y'all I am enjoying browsing through Stacey's book so much.. It is full of wonderful tips along with the cute patterns. I'm looking forward to making some of the patterns for my next baby gift. How you been following her blog tour? It has been fun and informative to follow along.

As promised, here you see the complete giveaway which includes Stacey's adorable book, 3 skeins of Coats & Clark Stitch Nation Bamboo Ewe in gray and pink so you can make the adorable kitty on the cover and an Etimo hook for you to try out. Unfortunately I don't have any in the hook sizes that Stacey uses in her book.

To enter in the drawing, please comment on this or the previous post about Stacey's book and your name will go into the pot. The drawing will be made on Tuesday, April 20th by a random number generator and will be announced here & on Ravelry. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My obsessions are cyclical..

My obsession for chickens, felting purses & Kool-aid dyeing has been replaced with dolls; lots & lots of dolls!!"Back in the day" I sewed and designed many a doll and puppet & Barbie outfits as well as sculpting a few dolls out of polymer clay. Yes, I was a bit obsessed, per usual.

Well the dolls are BACK!!I've always had Barbie clothes waiting in the wings for their turn to be "worked on" and have so enjoyed both using published patterns as well as making my own. Then there are the "ragdolls"...always a cuddly favorite as well dolls made of a combination of materials. Add to this list my relatively new obsession  with knitting & crocheting and you get the method to my current madness.

So here's what I have been doing...Ordering LOTS of materials on line, such as wool for stuffing & hair, stockinette bandaging (huh?), sculpey, paper mache` clay, a couple of Asian ball joint dolls that need what they call a "face-up" and even a wooden spool-type doll kit, (hey it was cheap on Etsy and it's cute).

Add to the previous, the various dolls and etc., that I have stashed in my closet for future use and you've got a hot mess crafters paradise. Looking at the list it is obvious that these items don't necessarily fit together for just one doll type. So here's what I'm doing;
1.  Designing my own Waldorf-inspired doll, using the wool stuffed head & body techniques, (here's where the stockinette comes in), which is done, in rough "draft" anyway.
2.  Designing a crochet version of a "fashion" doll, which is sort of done, at least I've got her entire body crocheted but not put together. This one is going to need pattern testers, preferably ones that enjoy multi-media techniques, which I'm sure to find on Ravelry..
3.  Designing some knit, crochet & sewn clothes for #'s 1 & 2 above as well as for Barbie, Liv & the BJD's I just got.
4.  Doing the "face-ups" on my 2 BJD's....I need to get the nerve first of all. Used to do lots of small detail painting but I was so much younger then.
5.  Regarding the sculpey & paper mache` clay, well suffice it to say that these items fit into one or more of the previously listed projects and already this post is WAY too long. Believe me, there will be more "talk" of this.

Here you see my Apple Salad Doll, her name is Annie, of course. Don't you love the China doll dress and cute mouse I found for her? These were both thrift shop finds.

Through this entire doll phase Mr. Witty, (aka Mr. Crafty, my husband) has been speechless and he is the one who gets the mail. Hmmmm.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Free Stacey Trock Book, spring colors and a walk in the park...

It's been a crazy busy week so far, but as promised, I want to talk about the Stacey Trock "Cuddly Crochet" giveaway that I am having. Sorry but I still haven't decided exactly what I will include but it will most likely be a hook and perhaps some yarn, to get you started. Please stay tuned. The entry period will run through Aril 20th.

Don't you just love seeing the flats & baskets of flowers this time of year. It makes me want to spend my entire paycheck on flowers; lots & lots of flowers. And look at the cute and fuzzy, but a little expensive, don't you think. I love Betz White's felted Pussywillow project and with all of the roving I have laying around the house I could make my own Pussywillow for free.
This guy is one of the "locals" who was "fishing" at the pier this past Saturday. These animals looks so prehistoric and frankly a bit scary. If it had been me fishing and he wanted what was on my hook, I'd have definately given it to him with my compliments. 
See how he is just waiting ever so patiently? If you could turn to see what he is looking at you would see a couple of fishermen not 20 feet away from him.

                                           Last but definately not least Saturday sailboats...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cuddly Crochet is HERE...

Oh my goodness, y'all, I recently got my book "Cuddly Crochet" by Stacey Trock in the mail and I must say that it really lives up to it's name! Cute is definately the "watch-word" here. Those who know me are quite aware of my weakness for babies in animal-ear hats and this book does not disappoint in that area. The cover photo is just a beginning of the cute things to come.

Not only is the book full of cute it's just plain "FULL"...full of designs! Twenty to be exact with something cute for all of the babies and young children on your list. Not only do I LOVE the animal ear hats but I was drawn to "Pete the Plush Pickup Truck on page 70 and the "On the Road Pickup Bib" on page 73. There has been talk on certain threads on Ravelry that there aren't enough cute designs for boys. Well here are two for the boys (and girls) that are sure to please!!

What I really love about this adorable book is the wide range of blanket designs. Stacey didn't merely just re-work the same rectangular blanket  in different colors. Instead she has designed several different styles of  blanket including;a hooded blanket , striped panel blanket, spiral circular blanket, rectangular blanket and one construted out of medallions, each with an adorably cute animal worked into the design. While blankets are a must-have for babies, these variations keep it interesting and fresh and encourage the reader to make more than one blanket.

The book is laid out in an easy to use format with concise, simple instructions. Throughout the book, Stacey gives little tips for construction based upon her years of experience in crochet. I love these practical ideas and suggestions. These would really be helpful for the novice crocheter as well as those who have been at it a while longer.

Then there are the adorably cute photos of the finished items, many of which are actually modeled by babies and children, so one can see how an item looks on the intended target recipient aged child. My only problem with this book is which project to try first. I'm leaning towards the truck but we'll see. I'll definately be posting it here and on Ravelry. Don't just take my word for the cuteness of this book, check it out for yourself. Stacey gave me an extra copy to give away to some lucky reader. Details to follow after the interview.

Now as promised Stacey Trock is visiting on the veranda today and I got to ask her some questions regarding her designs.

Q: How long have you known how to crochet? How long have you been a designer?

I’ve been crocheting since I was about 6 years old… my mom taught me! I’ve crocheted pretty regularly through life, but only became a designer in 2008. I started designing amigurumi, and haven’t stopped since!

Q: When did you first become interested in designing toys and baby items?

Toys were the first things I started to design. I love the look of crocheted amigurumi, but I noticed that most of the patterns were for tiny amigurumi… not something that a kid could really play with. So, I started designing larger animals, and baby items were a natural extension of that.

Q: In a nutshell, what are the basic steps you go through in designing an item?

Most of the time, the design just comes to me! When I’m lucky, I just sit down and start crocheting and jot down the pattern as I go. Other times (when my ideas don’t come to me so quickly), I sit down and browse cartoons online, to see what types of animals look good in a characterized format. From there, I do sketches, and convert those sketches into a pattern.

Q: What inspires you to create and/or design?

I have a couple of different inspirations. Sometimes, I go to the Natural History museum and look at the animals, or look at photos online. This is when I really need to sketch, because not all animals look great in stuffed animal format. Other times, I see a sewn stuffed animal and think it would look great as a crocheted pattern. And sometimes, I look at all of the animals that I’ve designed and think, ‘hmm… I really need an animal that ….’ For example, this winter, I really played around with new body shapes. So, lots of inspiration!

Q: What is your favorite thing about designing?

Flexible work hours! I’m a really home-y person, and I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have the time to run to the farmer’s market or bake bread. A 9-5 job just doesn’t suit me very well.

Aside from my love of sitting on my sofa, crocheting and drinking iced tea as job perks… I really enjoy the reactions I get from my customers. It makes me really happy to think that I’ve made something that others enjoy.

Q: Where do you carry out your design work? Do you have a designated studio area?

Oh, I wish! My boyfriend and I live in a 1 bedroom apartment, so there isn’t much ‘studio space’. Besides, I love watching tv while I crochet, so I usually work in the living room. If I’m typing up a pattern or designing, I sit at my desk in the living room in quiet. But, if I’m crocheting a sample, I sit on the sofa!

Q: How many hours a day do you spend on your craft?

Some times are busier than others. In a non-busy time, I’ll work from 10-7, minus a couple hours in the middle for errands. Then, I’ll usually crochet or knit at night for a couple hours, sometimes for work… sometimes for me  When it’s busy (such as in the middle of doing book edits, or right before Christmas time), I’ll work from 9-7, little breaks, and work at night… no personal knitting allowed! Now, not all of this ‘work time’ is for FreshStitches amigurumi… I also do other designs and some test crocheting/knitting, as well as blogging, which takes up a fair amount of time!

Q: What kind of crochet hook do you use? What do you like about this brand?

I use a Susan Bates aluminum hook. I think it’s pretty fast (as opposed to bamboo, which can create drag on the yarn if it’s not polished enough) and I like the shape of the hook.

Q: Can we look forward to seeing some Stacey Trock knitting designs in the future? Additional crochet design books?

I have some knitting designs already: visit and click on ‘knitting patterns’ under ‘my patterns’ at the top. I love doing knitting designs, but I think it will be a while before I have a full line of regular knitting patterns. For now, I just do a knitting design or two when the ideas strike me.

I’m hoping to do another crochet pattern book… focusing on sustainable yarns. Fingers crossed!

Win your own copy of Stacey's book along with some other goodies, which I will detail in tomorrow's post. To enter, simply make a comment here mentioning the book. The contest will run for a couple of weeks and the winner will be chosen by a random number generator. So get to commenting! Y'all are going to LOVE this book.

For more information on Stacey Trock's designs;
Stacey's website
Stacey's amigurumi patterns
Stacey's Blog
Stacey's amigurumi videos
To view more Martingale titles
To purchase a copy of Stacey's book

Friday, April 9, 2010 is the DAY....

Yay! I get to see who won my Etimo hook giveaway on Petite Purls today! I can't wait!And my "Adorable Aliens" are now out on the Coats & Clark website!

Here you see them getting ready to go out into the world...they even got to go to a trade show. That's more than I can say for me.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Headstart on a beautiful headband...

bridal headband
Originally uploaded by nandersonsphotos

I just HAD to start working on this headband from Crochet Today! Here's less than 45 minutes of work or 3 of 6 of the petals for the flower. Then there are a few leaves to make and some fun embellishments. Should work up pretty quickly and it makes me feel like a real milliner what with all of the goose biots and French netting and so on. I'm learning all sorts of new terms.

Crochet Today has done it again...

The folks at Crochet Today have come out with a wonderful May/June 2010 issue, just bursting at the seams with inspirational projects!! I LOVE how they have a wedding AND baby theme, which can be a logical progression for some. 

The wedding items are so beautiful and dainty and certainly fitting for heirloom wedding attire. LOVE the Bridal Headband by Roxana Ramseur and Keepsake Shawl by Susan Lowman and can see these used in other ways such as proms, garden parties & fancy teas or just when you want to feel pretty and feminine.

Now for the baby items. Oh my goodness!! LOVE the Sunshine Dress by Linda Permann & Springy Jacket by Kj Hay and can definately see myself making these. The Happy Day Mobile by Amy Gaines is SO DARNED CUTE and well, "HAPPY"! And the Baby Shower Blanket by Sara Graham is such a wonderful, sentimental idea, which is so "me". Each guest at the baby shower crochets a square to be made into a blanket for the new baby. I love this idea.

Not just for babies & children, the menagerie of precious animals by Ana Paula Rimoli are definately cuties to put on the "to do" list! Ana has such a talent for designing adorable, "take me home with you"'s that can be enjoyed by young and old alike. Don't you just love that?

Y'all, I've left out a WHOLE bunch of designs and articles so you'll just have to get your hands on an issue to see the rest of the wonderful cuteness including; booties, spring/summer sweaters, top & sunhat, (I NEED that where I live), and so much more!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy Easter and a word about volunteers...

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! This year my husband & I decided to have a casual Easter "dinner", a picnic of sorts on our back deck. Instead of baked ham and all of the trimmings laid out on a linen tablecloth we opted for cold spiral sliced ham and all of the fixings to make the perfect ham sandwich. Add to that homemade potato salad, Mom's olive spread & homemade bread and a delicious homebaked desert and in our minds we had a perfect feast fitting for Easter. Trouble is it looked like rain early on Easter morning. Plus the pollen was, (and still is), SO THICK  so we decided to keep it indoors. Here's a picture of my "indoor picnic" in the planning stage. Unfortunately I didn't even think to take more pictures with the food laid out and such.

Now about volunteers. When I talk about volunteers I am talking about plants that sprout up out of nowhere, in your yard. Ones that YOU did not plant and no I am not talking about weeds. Back in 2004, I had some sunflower volunteers as well as a tomato plant. That was a fun year for gardening. See I had gotten some leggy old pines trees cut down in my front yard in the hopes of transforming my yard into the perfect  "Better homes & Gardens" layout. O.K., a little bit of grandiosity but hey, I can dream can't I?

At any rate, as I was "working" the empty canvas that was my yard, I noticed some seedlings that looked like young sunflowers, (or squash or watermelon...they kind of look alike when they are new 2 leaved sprouts). SO I decided to nuture the sprouts to see what I'd get. Sure enough they were sunflowers but not just ANY sunflowers they were GIGANTIC!! The neighbors loved them. And so did I!! So much so that I have planted some on purpose this year. They have since sprouted and I am looking forward to their stages of growth, which I will document here this spring & summer.

Here you see the Sunflower volunteers. They got so much bigger but this was pre-digital camera days for me & I didn't document things as well back then.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

PEEPS !!!!

Every year I look forward to the Washington Post's Peeps Diarama Contest! It is full of satire and humor and sugary sweet PEEPS!! What's not to love?! Some of my all time favorites from the past were the "Peeps are Peeple" an homage to the 70's B-rated classic "Soylent Green". LOVED that one but you have to know the theme of the movie to "get it". Then there was the classically awesome "Peepshow", which was in fact just that: a Peepshow complete with stripper poles and nightclub lighting.  Simple, obvious but cute as can be! I'm glad that folks spend a little time creating fun diaramas for the entertainment of the rest of us. You can check out previous years' entries and see for yourself.