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Nothing Like a Little Rocky Horror Painting Show….

This Saturday, September 26, Cornerstone Center for the Arts will be celebrating Rocky Horror Picture Show’s 40th anniversary, with a showing of the movie and live performances by a shadow cast. A few weeks ago, while busting out the fishnets and planning my costume in preparation for the show, I had Rocky on the brain.  So, one afternoon, I was inspired to paint my own version of the iconic Rocky Horror lips.

As an instructor at Cornerstone, I know the people planning the showing of Rocky and after a few discussions, we came up with the idea of a silent auction of the painting with a portion of the proceeds going back to support Cornerstone.  From there, I thought, “Why not create a few more paintings in theme?”.

So that’s what I have been doing.  Each acrylic painting is in the limited color palette of black, white, and red and inspired by the characters of Rocky Horror.

A 16 by 20 inch portrait of Dr. Frank-N-Furter

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I See You Shiver with Antici….

And 8 by 10 inch paintings of Magenta, Riff Raff, and Columbia.

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And the Void Would Be Calling….
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Madness Takes Its Toll
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When a Snake of Guy Gave Me an Evil Wink

You might ask, “Where’s Eddie?”  Well, that’s a tender subject….

Not really, I’m working on that one right now.

Tickets for Saturday are no longer available online, but can be purchased at Cornerstone, at After Dark in Muncie, or at the door of the event.

I am ready to Do the Time Warp again. How about you?

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It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I have a three-year-old, so I am of course very well versed in “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” It’s basically my kid’s jam. So when I was asked if I wanted to help with Cornerstone‘s booth at “Be My Neighbor Day,” my answer was definitely a “yes.” I was asked to brainstorm an idea in the spirit of community and collaboration. After some discussion with the hubs, I decided on a painting of Daniel Tiger, with the iconic red sweater left blank for all of the participants of the event to fill in with their thumbprints.  After all, when we work together as a community, don’t we leave our mark?

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Welcome to my studio/living room/room that will never be clean again.

So I painted the Tiger.  I knew I got it right when I asked my little Tiger who it was, and she told me it was Daniel.

I like to make the joke that my grandma grew up in Mr. Roger’s neighborhood, because she literally did.  Grandma was raised in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, around the same time as Fred Rogers.  I don’t know that ever hung out, I think Fred was a bit older than my grandma, but they hail from the same ‘hood.  And that is pretty cool.

So came today, “Be My Neighbor Day.” And at first, it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Then the rain came. But I am telling you, love of the Tiger runs deep, and it did not scare off the pre-school super fans (and those adults who have the songs memorized by necessity).  Luckily the rain didn’t stick around the whole time, and we did manage to dry off and warm up.

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Just a selfie before the start to warm up.

So, if you can’t do it alone, work together!

Why, yes, I do know all the songs.

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My little Kiddo gave her contribution.
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Neighbors of all ages helped out with this collaboration.
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Tiger-tastic! Grrrr-ific!
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Fred Rogers. The legacy lives on.

I’ll be back when the new, and I’ll have more ideas for you, and you’ll have things you’ll want to talk about and I will, too.  Because it’s you I like.

Tis’ the season for Boot Cuffs: A Crochet Pattern

Fall is basically the best.  Apple cider, crisp cool air, pumpkin everything, and boots.  And how better to accent your super cute boots than a pair of boot cuffs.  I have the featured pair available at my Etsy Shop as well as the pattern below.

These are gray 100% cotton crocheted boot cuffs with a side button accent.  These boot cuffs feature a ribbed edge on both the top and bottom as well as a v-stitch lace pattern in the body.  The cuffs measure a circumference of 13 inches and a height of 4.25 inches.  These are perfect for tall boots that reach the knee or calf or for slouchy boots just above the ankle.

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I feel like one of the details that really make this pair special is the ribbed top and bottom of the cuff. While these were crocheted, I think the ribbing give these a bit of a knitted look.

V-Stitch Ribbed Edge Boot Cuff Pattern:

H Hook – This can be adjusted based on weight of yarn, I used a worsted weight

Abbreviations:

ch = chain

sc = single crochet

dc= double crochet

sl st = slip stitch

sk = skip

st = stitch or stitches

ch sp = chain space

Stage 1: Ribbing

ch 6, turn

row 1:  sc into second ch from hook, then sc across (total = 5 sc)

row 2: turn, ch 1 (count as first sc), working in back loops only, sc across (total = 5 sc)

Repeat row 2 until you reach the desired width of the boot cuff. This should fit the widest part of the calf.  This ribbed section creates the bottom of the boot cuff.  My cuff has a circumference of 13 inches since my calf measures 14 inches. This is about 59 rows of the ribbing for me.

Sl st the last row completed to the beginning chain to finish the ribbing. (See ** at the bottom of the pattern for my prefered method of this slip stitch) Do not cut yarn.

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Slip Stitching the Ribbing Together

Once the ribbing is complete, you will begin the V-Stitch pattern.

Stage 2: V-Stitch

row 1: ch 1, sc around the the side of the ribbed tube you have created (this is the top of the boot cuff so far and you will work your way up from here – the lines made by the ribbing will be vertical at this point). Once you have sc around the tube, sl st to connect to the ch 1 at beginning of the row.

row 2: ch 3, double crochet into same stitch, *ch 1, sk 2 st, (dc, ch, dc) in same st* – this is the v-stitch – repeat around sl st to connect

row 3: sl st into middle of first v-stitch, ch 3, double crochet into same ch sp, *ch 1, (dc, ch, dc) in the ch sp of the next v-stitch* repeat around sl st to connect to the row’s beginning chain.

Repeat row 3 as many times as desired. I repeated row 3 twice, giving a total of 4 v-stitch rows.  Do not cut yarn.

Stage 3: Top Ribbing:

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row 1: turn, sc into second ch from the hook, sc across ch, then sc into 2 st along the top row of the v-stitch section

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ch 6

row 1: turn, sc into second ch from the hook, sc across ch, then sc into 2 st along the top row of the v-stitch section

row 2: turn, sk 2 st, sc into back loops only of ribbing

row 3: turn, ch 1, sc into back loops only of ribbing, (this will be 5 st) once you are to the top of the v-stitch section, sc into the next two st, this connects the top ribbing to the v-stitch section.

Repeat row 2 and 3 of this section until you reach the starting ch.  Sl st together (see ** at the bottom of the pattern).  

Slip Stitch Method of preference:

**To slip stitch the ribbing together I, turn the cuff inside out so the right sides are facing each other then sl st the outside loops together without inside loops.  (Go through the first loop of the stitch, skip the second and third loops, then go through the 4th loop.)

Tie off, sew on a button and enjoy!

Not a crocheter?  You can purchase these boot cuffs here!  Plus, two ways to wear:

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Wear them hugging your calf with tall boots or loose above the ankle in a slouchy boot.

These Masks are 20% Cooler

My daughter is a pony super fan (and so our her parents), so for her birthday last year, I decided to make felt dress-up masks inspired by the Mane Six from My Little Pony.  They turned out pretty cool, so I decided to make some to sell on Etsy.

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The Mane Six plus Discord

I have had a few sales of my masks, so I thought it might be nice to give a tutorial on how I create these lovely ponies.  And who better to lead the tutorial, than the coolest of cool, by at least 20%, Rainbow Dash.

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It’s true: I am as “Awesome As I Wanna Be”
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Is this not how the rest of the world organizes its felt?

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Recently, I decided to organize my felt by pony color combination, so when I want to make a mask, I can just grab the bag full of the colors I need and get going.  Is that weird?  Well, either way I have a bag labeled as “Non-Pony Colors”.  I am not really sure what I am going to do with that stuff…

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IMG_6022When I started making the masks, I created patterns out of tracing paper.  First for the basic shape of the mask, then patterns for the individual eyes and hair of each of the ladies.  I pin each pattern to the colors in question and then start cutting everything out.

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Next comes the pinning.  I like to get everything cut out and pinned in place before I start sewing. The exception is the eye holes.  I like to have the pupil’s eye hole cut out, but wait on the other layers until everything is sewn down to lessen the chance of the eyes shifting.

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After pinning comes the sewing.  I like to sew the eyes by hand. I try to keep the stitches small and uniform.

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I like to use contrasting thread on the hair or skin of the pony, just to add a little character.

Before stitching the back onto the rest of the mask, I cut out the eye holes and position the ribbons that will tie the mask onto the wearer.

The hair and the backing are sewn on with a machine for a strong hold and the look of an outline.

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Here is a view of back all stitched together and cut out.  I also like to hand stitch the layers of the eyes together so that the 5 layers of felt that make up the eyes will be nice and flat.

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And Boom! (of the Sonic Rain- variety) we have a mask.  Perfect for dress-up, Halloween, or cosplay at a con. Each mask takes between four and six hours from start to finish.

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Like it?  I have masks inspired by Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Fluttershy, Applejack, Discord, and of course Rainbow Dash.  What other masks should I make? Who is your favorite pony?

Adventures in Upcycling Part 1: Plastic

When the folks at Cornerstone Center for the Arts asked me what kind of classes I want to teach this fall, I decided on upcycled jewelry for one of my options.  Using discarded items to create something new and beautiful is a really exciting idea.  After all, my most successful projects in school where in the realm of found object art.

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2007 Senior Project Play Time’s Over  

So with the idea of discarded materials becoming jewelry, I set out to explore my new medium.  I plan to work with paper too, but mostly this week I have been looking at plastic and making a bunch of earrings.

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Medicine Bottle

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I started by breaking out my jeweler’s saw and cutting up an old medicine bottle to create these earrings.

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I wanted to find some simple beauty in the material so I started playing with geometric shapes, mostly rectangles.

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Pepsi, anyone?

Theses might be my favorite pair of earrings that I have made so far.  Super light and comfy, and the translucent quality is pretty cool.

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Just a bit of Sprite, please.

I also really dug this simple and beautiful pair.

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Once I realized, oh, I guess I should make something other than earrings, I did this:

IMG_5888Its a bracelet, but I think this combo of plastic and metal would work well as a necklace too.

I did play with heat and the plastic too, but nothing completed from there.

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So now the question becomes, which of these do you like?  Would you want to see a tutorial on any of these?  I plan for these and many other samples to be available at my upcycled jewelry class as ideas and to walk through the “how-to portion”. And eventually these items will be available at my Etsy shop.

My next explorations will be in paper, fabric, and found object.  Stay tuned!

Why Yes, I Have Been Working on 85,000 Projects This Week

Technically, I guess it’s more like six projects.

First things first…

1. I started this week working with Cornerstone Center for the Arts, teaching two days of the summer arts camp.  Tuesday, we broke out the chalk pastels and made a sidewalk mural.

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Creating our jungle-themed mural.

I chose this project because I really enjoy collaborative projects and because chalk pastels are so much more vibrant than normal sidewalk chalk.  And because it’s kinda in my wheelhouse.

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Those baby blues belong to my Mister.

When I was 15 years old I started participating in the Fort Wayne Museum of Art’s Main Street Chalk Walk. I was lucky enough to get in on the ground floor and was there for the first year.  I participated for 13 years and made some really cool work.  This one is one of my favorites.

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I might have gotten a bit messy.

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2. Wednesday, we rocked out the Tie Dye.

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3. I made a few head bands. Available at my Etsy Shop.

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For the artistic Whovian.

4. My all-week project (and still going) was commissioned by my church.  I was asked to take woven room dividers, remove the weaving that was already coming apart, and recover them with fabric.

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Original woven dividers
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New and improved dividers with black denim fabric

There are a total of four dividers with four panels on each divider.  I have two dividers done, meaning a total of eight panels uncovered, recovered, and put back together.  Two more dividers to go.  Each panel takes about hour and a half to uncover, take apart, cut and sew fabric, stretch fabric around the wooden frame, and then reconnect.

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Plastic spiral charm

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5. My first attempt at upcycled jewelry.  More to come on that soon.

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Chaos Magic!?! How delightful.

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6. Probably my most exciting project for the week was my Discord Mask. (Also available for sale at my Etsy.)  Hubz had suggested this mask to go along with the “Mane Six” that I first made for our kiddo.

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You guessed it! For sale at my Etsy!
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It’s true. We are adorable.
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It’s possible that we really like My Little Pony.

Timing worked out perfectly for us to attend a free concert by The Shake Ups in Ponyville.  The kid was pretty much on cloud nine.

Crazy week? Yes.  Great week? Definitely!  Let’s see what next week holds.

I Found My New Calling! Construction… of Fairy Gardens…

So maybe that’s not a thing…

Anyway, this week I was given the opportunity to lead a workshop at Cornerstone Center for the Arts building fairy gardens.  I had never made a garden for miniature mythological beings before, so to Pinterest I went, and oh my goodness…   The stuff I found was super awesome.

So I spent the next few days building tiny stuff.

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This much cute can be hard to handle.

The day of the workshop, the kids did a great job!  So many awesome ideas.

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I love the fairy homes concealed under moss. And check out that welcome mat!
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Some very nice fencing.
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A lovely door to a hidden cave home.
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A tire swing! What!?!
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And an awning for this lovely structure.

There were so many more wonderful creations.  All the kids did an amazing job.

So after the kiddo’s went home, my kiddo came by and together, *cough cough* mostly me *cough cough*, we assembled our fairy gardens.

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I had two pots, and lots of samples, so two gardens were made.
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A swing and my fairy’s hidden doorway.
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A bridge, swing, and the hidden door.
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A ladder to connect the two.
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Hidden cave entrance for the shy fairies out there.
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And a place for tiny tea.

This week was so much fun!  What comes next?  Who knows!  Maybe stable decoration for a unicorn.

Always the best for 'My Little Pony'
Always the best for ‘My Little Pony‘.

I Made a Super Cute Shrug! (And You Can Too!)

During my cross-country road trip to see the fam, I crocheted a lot.  See my previous post for details.

One of the items I made was this super cute shrug.

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Originally I was going to make a tank top, like in this video, for the base square and connection method.  (Please note, this is not my video, I do not hold copyright to the video or its contents.)

I changed my mind while thinking about how I struggle to find light sweaters to go with my high waisted skirts.

So, I adapted the summer tank top shown in the video to the shrug above.

Here’s how its done:

This is a connect as you go pattern, worked in a series of squares that are connected as they are created.

You start with this basic square:

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Then connect each square as it is created.

You will add squares together to create a rectangle that will then be seamed together leaving holes for your arms to slide through.  The finished product will look like this when laid out flat:
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My Shrug’s Finished Measurements:  Width:  27 inches;  Length: 15 ¼ inches

My Individual Squares Measurements:  Width:  4 inches; Length: 4 inches

The shrug hits me in my mid back and halfway down my bicep. *cough cough, I’m short.*  To add width (for longer sleeves or to increase the size) or length (to create a longer shrug) add one or more rows.  The shrug will be worked as a large rectangle then folded in half and connected at the bottom rows.  I connected 1 square on each size to create the arm hole, but if you decide to add 1 or 2 rows you will want to determine how large or small the arm hole will need to be.  I left about a 14 inches circumference for my arms.  (That is 7 inches when folded in half and laid out flat.)

And now for the pattern.

Yarn weight:  Light DK or fingering

Hook size:  D/3-3.25 mm

Abbreviations:

ch = chain

sl st = slip stitch

sc = single crochet

tr = treble crochet

To create your first square:

ch 8, sl st to join

row 1: 16 sc into ring

row 2: ch 7 (count as tr, ch 3), sk next sc, *tr in next sc, ch 3, skip next sc rep from* around sl st in 4th ch of beg ch to join (8 tr)

row 3:  Sl st in first ch-3 loop, ch 4 (count as tr), 3 tr in same ch-3 loop, *ch3, 4 tr in next ch-3, ch 13**, 4 tr in next ch 3 loop rep from * around ending last rep at **, sl st in 4th ch of beginning ch to join fasten off

Once the first square is created, the next squares will be attached to the first square at the ch 13 and ch 3 spaces, one side at a time.  My suggestion would be to start connecting squares one row at a time.  Let’s label the square to help us out.  (Oh no. Is this turning into a story problem?)

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Ok.  Let’s say the first square is in the upper lefthand corner of the rectangle that will become the shrug.  If you are moving from left to right, row by row, the next square that is attached will be attached on side B of the original square.  Side B of the original square attached to side D of the new square.  This row you will be attaching only 1 side of each square.

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(Math flashbacks….  Make it stop….)

In the second and following rows, the first square of the row (furthest to the left) will attach side A of the new square to side C of the square above.  The following squares will attach sides C and A, as well as sides B and D of each respective square.

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The method for attaching is as follows:

New Square (starting chain, rows 1 and 2, and the start of row 3 are the same as before):

ch 8, sl st to join

row 1: 16 sc into ring

row 2: ch 7 (count as tr, ch 3) sk next sc, *tr in next sc, ch 3 skip next sc rep from* around sl st in 4th ch of beg ch to join (8 tr)

You start the final row the same

  • row 3:  Sl st in first ch-3 loop, ch 4 (count as tr), 3 tr in same ch-3 loop, ch3, 4 tr in next ch-3

And here’s the difference:

  • Then, instead of ch 13, ch 6, sl st to attach to the ch 13 space of the completed square to which you are attaching (make sure both squares are facing the same direction – both fronts showing), ch 6 more (creating the equivalent of 13 ch), 4 tr in next ch 3 loop
  • ch 1, sl st to the ch 3 space on the completed square, ch 1, 4 tr in next ch 3 loop
  • Then, repeat the other corner:  ch 6, sl st to attach to the ch 13 space of the completed square, ch 6 more, 4 tr in next ch 3 loop
  • If you are attaching another side, repeat as needed. If you are not attaching a side, go back to the original row 3.  After a corner, you should be ready for the ch3 in the middle of a side.  So:  ch3, 4 tr in next ch-3, ch 13, 4 tr in next ch 3 loop repeat until you come to the start of the row and have created 4 sides then, sl st in 4th ch of beginning ch to join fasten off)
  • Once you are attaching the second row and have multiple sides to connect, you can slip stitch into the same stitch that connects the two squares at the chain 13 space.  The connected chain 13 spaces create the star seen here.

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To change the rectangle into a shrug, fold it in half and then seam together the bottom squares.  I did this by slip stitching over every stitch and connecting the squares at the chain 13 and chain 3 spaces as it would be connected if it was in the row.  My shrug is 7 squares wide and 5 squares long.  The squares give the flexibility to increase or decrease the size as needed.  To finish, I slip stitched over all of the edges and wove in the ends of each square.

This was a fun piece to create, and I really enjoy wearing it.  Summer Shrug for the Win!

38 Hours in the Car? Yeah, I think I will Crochet…

Last week Hubs, the Kiddo, and I hopped in the car and took a road trip out to Denver, Colorado, to spend time with family.  Just a short drive….

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You might have noticed there was a bit of construction on our path out west.

So I did the most productive thing I could do: I crocheted like a mad woman.  One of my ventures on this crazy-live-your-dream journey is crochet instruction at the local yarn store, Yarn Stories.  And this month, Yarn Stories is celebrating “Christmas in July”.  A different project each day will be featured this month.  I am showcasing 9 different projects (8 crochet projects and 1 arm knitting).  During my Manifest Destiny, I completed 5 projects (4 projects for Christmas in July and 1 for the future).

The Four for July:

Bobble Beard – Technically, there should be a beanie attached, but all in due time.

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Canyon Shrug – I worked on this almost the entire way out to Denver and when I thought I was finished, I realized I misread the pattern and was only halfway done.  I decided to call it and ended up with a shorter shrug that fit my lack of height better anyway. Besides, patterns are more like guidelines than actual rules.

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Market Bag – I love how insanely bright the yarn is.

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Owl Love Coffee Cozy – I like to work with mostly free patterns, but this one was too awesome to pass up.  It is made by Kim Miller of knotsewcute.  You can find the pattern for sale for $3.99 on Ravelry at the link above.

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And to the Future!

Summer Shrug adapted from this youtube video – originally I planned to make the tank top shown in the video but decided to create a lace shrug instead.

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The 9 projects that I will be showcasing for Yarn Stories’ “Christmas in July” and the dates for each are:

Tuesday, July 7 – Arm knitting

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Thursday, July 9 – Divine Hat

(Picture currently unavailable :/)

Friday, July 10 – Canyon Shrug

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Tuesday, July 14 – Owl Hat

(no sample yet…)

Friday, July 17 – Owl Love Coffee Cozy 

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Tuesday, July 21 – Diamond Trellis Basket

It’s so cute!

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Saturday, July 25 – Bobble Beard

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Tuesday, July 28 – Christmas Ornament

(ummmmm, not done yet….)

Friday, July 31 – Market Bag

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After a whole lot of miles, a few bouts of Hanger, and the desperate search for rest areas in Kansas for the 3-year-old, we arrived back home and back to daily life.  Until the next adventure…

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