Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My All-Time Favorite Crochet Afghan Pattern

Hi, everybody.

As we wrap up another year, I wanted to share with you a favorite crochet pattern over the years. There's such a variety of patterns in the world that it seems almost inconceivable to me that I've used this one over and over. Nevertheless, I've made four afghans with Granny's Garden in a variety of colors. It just comes out so pretty that I can't quite help myself. I highly recommend it.  (NOTE: If you want to print the pattern, I also recommend that you print directly from the web page. If not, you may be asked to load several applications onto your computer. I make no statement as to the wisdom of that.)

So, what do I love about the Granny's Garden pattern?

First, I love the pattern, which you'll find in the link above, in case you haven't already clicked it. I had an original printed copy of the pattern, but now that I have a physical piece to go by, I don't really need the printed pattern any more. (I may find it again one day, but if I don't, that's okay.) 

Second, if you're the type of person who gets bored making granny square after granny square, this pattern offers a lot of variety in that you get to make two different (solid) color squares, and then you work in rounds for a time with a third color.  And just when you're finishing up a set of those long rounds around your squares, you get to make squares again!  Perfect!  :-)

Third, I love the way the squares and rows are joined.  I posted a video earlier about how I crochet squares together, with no sewing! Although I can't remember precisely, this is probably the pattern that taught me to do that.

Fourth, I love the potential for variation in this pattern. The fourth afghan I made used a multitude of colors instead of just three. I consider it my best afghan ever!  Here are a few pictures of the last and best of the four.  


To hear more about how I altered this pattern to make it my own, here's a short video.

I hope you've enjoyed this bit of crochet fun. I'll post another video soon on how to work front post double crochet (fpdc) and back post double crochet (bpdc), which makes a really interesting piece.  For paper crafting fans, I'll also be putting up some new card and scrapbook creations soon.

Thanks for stopping by.  Happy New Year 2014!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas - Season of Wonder

Merry Christmas!

I hope that your Christmas Day was filled with love and laughter this year.  As we spent time with family in the last few days, we experienced a sense of wonder as we watched the little children rip open their gifts and see what treasures they held.  Happiness comes so easily to them, it seems. Perhaps we should take a lesson from them as adults!

Today, of course, is Boxing Day. Apparently it originated as a day when employers would give "boxes" of gifts to tradesmen, servants, or people of "lesser status."  Isn't that interesting?

Hopefully, many of us participate in similar practices.  One well-known practice is participation in Operation Christmas Child, which Franklin Graham leads.  Our church is a collection center for those boxes, and it was a very fruitful year.

Others participate in taking tags from local trees placed for the purpose of providing gifts to children in low-income families.  And for those of us Charles Dickens fans, you may recognize another practice that was included in "A Christmas Carol," when two gentlemen approached Ebenezer Scrooge about providing for the poor and needy. That, unfortunately, didn't go so well...at least not at first!

How heartwarming it is to hear of people's benevolence at this time of year. God has provided each of us with something we can do to lift the spirits of others. Sometimes it may simply be to offer a kind word of encouragement - a "free" gift.  And I have always found that no matter what we do to be a blessing to others, we are often more blessed by the giving than are those who receive. Isn't it amazing how that works?

But back to Boxing Day.  Many families begin "boxing" away their Christmas decorations on December 26. But what is being boxed?  Is it just the physical decorations, or is it more?  Let us hope that our packing doesn't rob us of our feelings of benevolence, our wonder at the arrival of the baby Jesus, or of the hope that we find in the start of another year.

As we begin 2014, may we each do our part to make our world a better place. Thank you for stopping by to spend these few minutes with me. I cherish your presence here and wish for you a joyous new beginning at this most wondrous time of the year.  May God bless!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter has arrived?

Hello everyone.

It's hard to believe that wintertime officially arrived today. Normally it's in the 20s to 40s this time of year, but today?  It was mid 70s!  Really.  I went out in just a light sweatshirt and thought I'd roast before I could get home and change it!

It may seem funny to comment on an unusually warm winter, but...that much warmth this time of year generally spells storms.  Tomorrow is expected to be no different. We're supposed to have thunderstorms and wind. Hold onto your lawn ornaments!

Well, now for a bit cheerier subject - my card for the day. This cutie is Candy Cane Anneke, the December stamp of the month by From the Heart stamps. Check out other gallery entries here.  (No one can say I'm not loyal, as I feature of lot of their digital images.) I have lots of other brands, but find these images incredibly fun to color with my Copic Sketch markers.

My Copic color choices include:
Hat and candy cane: R22, 24, 29, 39, 59, 89
Skin: E00, E11, BV00
Cheeks: R20
Eyes: B00
Hair: E50, E31, E44
Dress: B63, B66, B69
Boots: E42, E55, E35
Outline and white shading: W1

Here's a closer look:

This card features navy blue cardstock, white X-Press It blending card for the image, Spellbinders Nestabilities Lacey Ovales die cut, a royal blue oval taped behind the die cut for depth, and Liquid Pearls accents on Echo Park 6x6 "Winter Wishes" paper pad.

And on the inside, I have more Echo Park paper, along with my greeting from Hero Arts Stamp and Cut Season's Greetings set.

I had a wonderful time creating this little darling. In fact, I really couldn't help myself as I made several cards from this image with various color combinations and designs.

The first and third images directly above also feature embossed snowflakes in white opaque, as well as some gold and diamond colored Stickles in the center of the designer paper snowflakes. Hope you enjoy my fun cards.
Now, to all you and yours, may you have a safe, happy, healthy Christmas. May God bless us each and every one, as we celebrate once again the newborn King!