Monday, November 24, 2014

Free Crochet Pattern: Campfire Smores

Campfire Smores
A Little P and Company Design by Sarah Mancini

Main Ingredients:
~Hook: 3.5 mm (E)
~Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool Yarn in Natures Brown
~Spud & Chloƫ SweaterYarn in Ice Cream
~Tahki Yarns Cotton Classic Yarn in 3560 (Cinnamon)*
~Safety Eyes
~Felt Circles
~Black Embroidery Thread

{A not so brief note about the yarns that I used: To create this pattern I used a variety of yarn from my stash. The three yarns I chose each have different qualities. Here are some helpful tips about each: The Tahki is 100% mercerised cotton and it's on the finer side. In order to add some bulk, I decided to double it up. I like the way the cotton makes the graham cracker stiff and the color is spot on as well. *However, this particular colorway has been discontinued. The yarn however, has not so you may have some luck finding a nice substitute :) If you find a particularly good "graham cracker" yarn, please let me know what it is! The Lion Brand Yarn is 100% wool and I chose it mainly b/c of the dark chocolatety color. It is a very nice yarn to work with in general but if I had a softer one on hand, I would have used it. To me, chocolate should be smooth and this yarn is a bit on the scratchy side. But again, I wanted to use yarn that I already had and it definitely looks dark chocolatety :) Lastly, the Spud and Chloe is a mixture of cotton and wool. It is just LOVELY to work with. It's by far one of my very favorite yarns. I chose this one b/c of the color (obviously) but also b/c I knew it would make a soft, squishy marshmallow and that was super important to me!! It did just the trick and I would choose it again and again for this project :) One last note about all three of these yarns: each of them is hand-wash only. Since this is a toy, it shouldn't be too big a deal but if you prefer machine-washable yarns feel free to choose those instead :) Just choose whatever yarn you like best or whatever works for you! This pattern would look great in a variety of yarns. Get creative with it!! }

~Embroidery Needle
~Stitch Markers
~Tape Measure

Abbreviations (US terminology):
Sc: Single Crochet
SS: Slip Stitch
BLO: Back Loop Only
FO: Fasten Off


Graham Cracker (make 2)
With 3.5 mm hook and Tahki Cotton Classic Yarn, double up yarn so that you are working with two strands throughout (you will only do this for graham cracker portion of pattern)

Set up row:     Chain 11
        Row 1:    Sc in second chain from hook and in each remaining chain (10 sc)
   Row 2-10:    Repeat row one until your graham cracker is square. Make as few or                                    as many rows as necessary.
       Border:    Sc around perimeter, making 2-3 sc in each corner.
   Finishing:     FO and weave in ends.

Chocolate (make 1)
With 3.5 mm hook and Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool Yarn in Natures Brown

Repeat directions for Graham Cracker.

Marshmallow (make 1)
With 3.5 mm hook and Spud & Chloƫ Sweater Yarn in Ice Cream

Top of marshmallow:

Set up round: Ch 2
       Round 1: 6 sc in second chain from hook (6 sc)
       Round 2: 2 sc in ea st around (12 sc)
       Round 3:  [2 sc in next st, sc in next st] x 6 (18 sc)
       Round 4:  [2 sc in next st, sc in next 2 sts] x 6 (24 sc)
       Round 5:  [2 sc in next st, sc in next 3 sts] x 6 (30 sc)
       Round 6:  sc in ea st around, blo (back loops only) for this round
Rounds 7-10: sc in ea st around
     Finishing:   FO and weave in ends.

Bottom of marshmallow:

Repeat set up round and rounds 1-5 for top of marshmallow. DO NOT BREAK YARN. Add a stitch marker to your last stitch and then proceed to do the following:

Add safety eyes to the top of your marshmallow and embroider smile and cheeks (if desired). If you choose, you can glue the cheeks in place. I like using Aileen's Origional Tacky Glue, however it's not washable.

Line up finishing rounds of Top and Bottom of marshmallow. SS through both rounds (remembering to pause to add batting about 3/4 of the way through) in order to connect the two parts.

FO, weave in ends.

Voila!!! You're all finished with your Campfire Smores!! Just remember, they're made of yarn so keep 'em away from any real flames!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I like to crochet, and s@*%

I've been lucky enough to have some time lately to crochet. Here are some of the things I've been working on. First let's talk about this pie. I seriously love this pie!! It's one of my very favorite patterns. This "chocolate" version is the latest of three I've made. The two that preceded it were "pumpkin" and "pink with blue icing". Can you guess which one I made for Nora?? I really do need to make another "pumpkin" one and keep here it just for me :) But, this little "chocolate" cutie will soon be sent away to a new swap partner of mine :) The same thing goes for the "Bowie Mitts" as well. Now I just need to make the second one.

I also recently finished up this shawl and I'm pretty crazy about it. I had some lovely Madeline Tosh Merino Light and for the longest time I refused to use it because it was just so incredibly pretty. However, I must admit it looks even prettier as a shawl so I'm super pleased I ended up using it :) I'm thinking of making this part of my orchestra attire when Nick and I go to Severance Hall in January.

Wish me luck in terms of completing my other "Bowie Mitt". I seem to have issues making things in duplicate...

Monday, September 1, 2014

Nora's First Day of Kindergarten

Here she is, our little "bulldog" on her very first day of school!! Wow, looking back at this picture now, I'm getting emotional. However, at the time this photo was snapped (one week ago), I was more nervous than anything else. We were running late due to some miscommunication in the handouts, though I didn't realize it until we hit the front doors. From that point on everything seemed to go by lightning fast. I remember feeling things now in little emotional flashes. I kept feeling as if I didn't have enough time to react properly...

In retrospect I'm convinced that I would have cried afterwards, however Nick was there. We were talking and I was distracted and no bawling did occur. However, I did feel kind of empty and strange, like something just wasn't right... perhaps like I'd just left my first born off in some school system I barely knew with some teacher who I'd talked to a whole 3 minutes... yeah something felt majorly off. However, I also felt pretty okay with the school. We'd attended information night there a while back and Nora went to Boost there for a week. We had orientation there just the week before and Nora seemed to like it there... but still, it was hard, just leaving her there. In REAL SCHOOL, for the first time ever.

Also, I felt a bit guilty?/proud? that I decided NOT to walk her to all the way to her class. I wasn't aware beforehand that I even COULD but then the secretary asked if I was planning on it...and I heard myself saying, "no". I guess it was b/c I hadn't planned on it and I knew Nora and I were already running late...also I wasn't sure how walking her in would make either of us feel and things were going by too quickly to weigh options and to plan... so, snap decision, I parted ways with  my KINDERGARTENER (o.m.g.) right then and there in the office. She got a bit nervous when she heard I was leaving her off like that but then she was brave about it and we hugged and we parted ways. I walked out afterwards in a bit of a rush, not knowing if I felt really good or really bad about what just happened. The only thing I did know was that I didn't know at all...

Fast forward a bit to us driving to pick her up. Thank God her school is so close. We were early getting there rather than late this time. I could not wait to see Nora and ask her about her day. I could not wait to see that she was okay and to give her a gigantic hug. But when I walked in she was a plethora of other kids. And she was playing and distracted and having fun and she didn't want to go home! And that was literally when my heart got ripped in two. It was the moment when I realized with both horror and with pride, that she really was entirely okay without me there. It's when I think about that more than anything else, that I want to happy/sad cry all over the freaking place.

So here we are now, on the eve of Nora's second week of school and things are already routine. Our schedule's pretty much set in stone...and we know what to expect. Still it's kinda tough knowing we'll have to part again soon. We'll have to go off and be our own people for a while. I think that's the hardest part of all of this. The fact that we are two separate entities and that with each milestone that goes by, that fact becomes more and more true and more apparent. It makes me so happy to see the person Nora has become and the person that she has yet to be. I am in awe of that fact and a bit terrified too. Mostly I'm terrified of being separate from her. I just hope that she doesn't drift too far or too fast because sometimes, as a parent, I feel like there's just not enough time to properly react.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Wow, Such a Change

Pre-K Photo (Fall)

Pre-K Photo (Spring)

...and here I thought two photo shoots in one school year was just excessive. My cynical-leaning mind was just shouting, oh sure, more money for the photo companies. We never had two photos taken when I was a kid, etc, etc, etc... But wow, what a change I see here!! Right here before my eyes and I didn't even notice until I just placed these two photos side by side. Wow, Nora you really do look different! I'm a bit floored, actually. You look almost baby-ish in your Fall photo from 2013 and undeniably girl-ish in your Spring one from 2014. And it's not just your looks that are different. You're now much less reserved, less unsure, much MORE talkative and super inquisitive to boot!!! And, *sigh*, much less the little toddler/baby/tadpole you once were :'(

However, Nora, you are still my first little darling and nobody can EVER change that. Much love to you Little P!! You're the bestest!!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

40 before 40...a bit at a time

a new set of goals, though some remain the same...only adding when i think of things worthy
  1. knit my own socks
  2. find a church and become a member
  3. crochet myself a cardigan
  4. renew wedding vows (10 yrs)
  5. host mom/kid sleepover
  6. buy a house
  7. learn to use a sewing machine
  8. learn to play the violin
  9. grow my own tomatoes
  10. eat more family dinners at the table
  11. adopt a dog
  12. learn to speak Flemish/Dutch