Friday, January 6, 2017

Christmas Crochet

I had a great time crocheting some Christmas gifts last year.  These Sock Monkey hats were an obvious choice for my sister, her monkey-loving husband, and their little guy.  The pattern is by Sarah at Repeat Crafter Me.
It looks like they work as Snow Monkey hats, too!
I made this Gingerbread Cottage for my parents, using a pattern from Gourmet Crochet.
While the crocheting was pretty simple, mostly chains and single crochet stitches, affixing it to the frame was more of a challenge.  Have you ever tried to fit a sweater to a box?
It turned out well, anyway.  I especially love the roof and the round peppermints by the front door.
I made this afghan for my other sister.  It's a character from a favorite movie, Tonari no Totoro, which we first saw in Japan in the mid-eighties, with Dad translating.  That is still the best way to watch it.  Vae loves Totoro, and she's had some hard times, so I wanted the design to express this advice:
If Life gives you raindrops, jump up and down and grin like a Totoro!
I forgot to include that in the package, so I hope you're reading, Vae.
I hoped her furry friend would not feel threatened by the big eyes.  It looks like any threat has been neutralized.

I'll tell you more about the pattern another day.

What did you make for Christmas?

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas
from our family to yours!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Light the World

I love Christmas lights.  December days around here tend to be wet and dreary, and night falls all too soon.  But then the lights shine out, bringing hope and cheer.

The little electric lights are just a reminder, a dim imitation of the Light of the World, our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Just like them, we can imitate Him to bring more light into the dreary world around us.

Join me in trying to lift some burdens this month.  Here you can find ideas to get you started.  Then observe, serve, and share in the joy of Christmas!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Turkey Parade

We are grateful for creativity.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween 2016

Scoot had a pretty specific vision for his costume this year.  He wanted to be a Dedicated Asha'man, a magical warrior from Robert Jordan's epic Wheel of Time series.  With some extra time on his hands this term, he has been speeding through the books (he's currently on #10 of 14), and knows them well.  I haven't read any of them.  Scoot showed me the type of coat he wanted here.  Naturally, I thought the price was a bit steep for a Halloween costume, so I offered to make him one.  Maybe I shouldn't have.  The materials cost nearly that much (thank goodness for coupons), and I didn't have a commercial pattern to work with. But I plunged in.  I drew out one of those tiny Lutterloh patterns for a women's coat with a tall collar and a zipper, and straightened it out to make it more manly.  I had the sense to cut out the flannel lining pieces first and baste them together for fitting.  Good thing--I had to put more curves back in for my skinny boy.  He said he wanted it to be warm and that he'd wear it on other occasions.  So I quilted some batting onto the flannel, added pockets, and cut the outer pieces from a wool blend.  And it came together pretty well.  It is definitely warm, and poofier than intended--I should have used a more compact batting.  I also should have done the button flap differently, but I made it work. 
The buttons themselves I liberated from some old marching band uniforms in my charge.  We bought the officially licensed pins.  The coat was too warm for Scoot to wear to the Halloween dance, and he was doing his duty at the football game during the trunk-or-treat.  But he wore it for the piano recital (where one of the adult students recognized his outfit right away) and for trick-or-treating, and he looked quite dashing.
Rollo's inspiration was also literary.  This is his look for Obliteration, a supervillain from Brandon Sanderson's Reckoners series.  I haven't read this, either, but apparently the various empowered people don't go in for capes and spandex.  So Rollo wore Dandelionslayer's trench coat, the one that the Caterpillar wore every day for a couple of years.  I'd already thought it when someone else suggested, "So he dressed up like his brother?"  When I mentioned it to both boys, they laughed, so I guess they didn't mind that.  Rollo did try to increase his villainous image by carrying a machete for trick-or-treating.  It would just have gotten in the way at the piano recital.
D2 felt more cinematic, and decided to be a Sith.  He's wanted his own cloak for a while now.  But he was quite willing to wear Rollo's once he realized it fit.  I'm glad--Scoot's coat wore me out.  He added some detail with the orange scarves.  I'm not sure what he had in mind, but they remind me of his safety patrol outfit.  He loves to play with those scarves. 
D2 also persuaded me to buy him a skeleton, once it was on clearance.  His enthusiasm at the store was contagious, and made a few people smile.  His vision was to equip it with a black cloak and scythe.  Once he brought it home, though, he found the plaid robe and fuzzy pink slipper more accessible and just as acceptable.  He's had a lot of fun posing the skeleton, including setting it up in front of the webcam for our weekly chat with the Caterpillar.
The Caterpillar himself dressed up as a cyborg for a couple of Halloween parties out there at college.  Look at that robot hand.  The Six Million Dollar Man on a thrift store budget.  Awesome. 

It's so fun to be creative for Halloween!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Trick or Treat?

A garden-fresh strawberry in mid-October?  
Definitely a (very small) treat!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Columbus Day Hike

 In honor of Columbus Day, we went out to do some exploring.
It was re-exploring for most of us.  Everyone but D2 and I had climbed this trail before.  But with changing seasons, there is always something new to see.
I love the mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees in this forest.
 These trees look like they belong in a Dr. Seuss book,
 as does D2 with his moss-stache,
while I could see this stump in a tale from Grimm.
 This tells a scary story, too.
I'm glad I wasn't in the way when this tall tree splintered down the mountain.
 But all was peaceful when we visited.
 This stool should hold a good-sized toad.
These little fungi look like trumpets in a forest band.
 Moss covers boulders,
 and bigger boulders,
 while delicate vines decorate the banks of the trail.
 We didn't quite make it to the lake,
but there was plenty of water along the way.
On our way back down, the sun broke through the clouds.
I'm grateful for the trailblazers who made it possible for us to enjoy this beautiful day in such a beautiful place!