Friday, January 30, 2009

Rosy Pink Slippers

I'm LOVING these rosy pink slippers I just finished knitting! They are warm & toasty and well...


~ Plus~ you know I HAD TO make them BLOSSOM with a crocheted rose.

I knit them up using three strands of Cascade 220 wool held together. Then chose the lightest pink to make the sweet little roses. They are fast and fun to make and cozy and pretty to wear!

I feel like Cinderella must have felt wearing her glass slippers to the ball. Except: my feet are much warmer, I can stay up past midnight wearing them while sitting and knitting in my comfy over~stuffed, rose covered chair (with matching tufted ottoman!) and at the end of the night my feet won't hurt like crazy as surely a pair of glass slippers must be excrutiating to endure!

Of course, much of the knitting was accomplished with Jose, my precious 3 pound chihuahua & constant companion, on my lap. He's never been crazy about the tickling experience of yarn running over him, however is now willing to endure ANYTHING to be picked up and safely away from little Miss Phoebe! (who only wants to PLAY... and BITE).

Also, check out another new favorite find:
The yarn is encased in three seperate "Yarn Cake Holders" and look closely at the two crocheted roses sitting by them. One is a solid pink and the other is a variegated pink. They're tape measures. Don't you just LOVE them?! I certainly do!:) They were made by Susan who can be found at:

The Yarn Cake Holders (great for keeping yarn tangle free, especially when working with more than one strand) sell for $2.50 each and the tape measures are $7.50 a piece. She does different animals upon request and darlilng cake tape measures. (I just love the creativity of other women). When I discovered her shop and contacted her to ask if she could make mine up in pink roses, she e-mailed me back immediately and said "SURE". She's GREAT to work with. Browse through her crocheted pretties & knitting patterns for sale and enjoy! Tell her Danette sent you.

~ Just A Note~

For anyone who might be interested in making these rosy slippers here's where you can find the free patterns:

For the slippers I used size 11 dpn's as called for, but when you get to the point where you connect to work in the round and knit 12 more rounds, I knit 15 more rounds {could just be my gauge ~ I'm loose when I knit/crochet}. This pattern is so easily adjusted to whatever size you need. The pair pictured here fits my size 6 1/2 feet and also both of my daughter's size 8 feet. Wouldn't they be a fun Valentine's Day present to give?! Hmm... maybe I'll even whip some up in a couple of color choices for my Etsy shop. We'll see.

For the crocheted rosettes I used just one strand of yarn and made mine in the size medium {ch 35}.

Happy creating!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Make A Wish!

Yesterday my sister, Bridget, turned 35. She and her sons, Courtney & Brendan, and my Mom and Dad came for the afternoon and evening. We had lunch with lots of chit~chat and laughter. Then later on we ordered pizza and had more chit~chat and laughter with our cake and ice cream. All in all it was a great day!

Although I am almost ten years older than Bridget, there's just the two of us and we are as close as any sisters or friends could be. Ever since the day she was born (when I was in the fourth grade) she's been a shining light in my world. I'll never forget going to school the day after her arrival feeling like I was floating on a cloud. I had waited a long time to be a big sister. Over the years I've been like her other mother at times as well. I have even been the one to bake all of her birthday cakes since she turned two. Now we are sisters, confidantes, and best friends. What a beautiful, intelligent woman she has grown into. I'm very proud of her and love her more with each passing year.
This last one would be my Dad ~ evidence that some people really never do grow up! Sorry Dad, I just HAD to include it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Enjoyment of Life

"So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun." Ecclesiastes 8:15

Isn't it wonderful to just simply "enjoy life"? The world around us has become such a busy, active place, which is sometimes not a bad thing. However, I hope we can all take time out (without feeling guilty about it) to partake in "the enjoyment of life". I really think God intends for us to be happy with the small, every day things He has blessed each of us with.

These days my "work" is taking care of my granddaughter, Gabby, keeping my hands busy with yarn, hooks and needles, and acting as number one zoo~keeper to this menagerie of pets I have!
And, I really must say, JOY does accompany me in my work!
O.K.~ maybe the house isn't as tidy as it could be and we occasionally run out of clean laundry, but everyone is happy and well~loved and I reap the benefits of peace and happiness that come from such basic things in life.
Pictured at the very top is a pair of pink slippers I started last night after completing the red ones for my neighbor, which are going to her mother for her 93rd birthday. She wears a size 11 shoe and has swollen feet from congestive heart failure. They are unable to get shoes on her feet when taking her to the doctor, so she needs something warm that will fit. I hope they work!

You'll notice that once again Phoebe couldn't resist curling up next to some warm wool for a little nap!
And then, I leave you with a picture of Gabby sitting on my bed reading a story, because now it's time for me to get back to "the enjoyment of life" as I know it!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cozy Crocheting

After I finished the teal colored tranquility shawl a few days ago, I decided I really must have one of these warm cozy wraps for myself. So I went to my yarn stash and pulled out the 3 hanks of Lorna's Laces hand~dyed yarn I've been saving for just the right project. It's a beautiful superwash wool of Shepherd Bulky in the color Baltic Sea. Each skein has 140 yards and I used nearly every bit. As many of you know, crocheting uses up more yarn than knitting does.

Although I seldom ever make anything for myself, and I do have two custom orders due by February 1st, I just couldn't resist the tempting thought of snuggling into one of these while crocheting, knitting or reading a good book (a steaming cup of tea within reach at all times). I'm an extra cold person who lives in a house that was built in 1926 which still has the original windows and not enough insulation. Plus all the floors are the original oak (no carpeting anywhere). I love, love, love my old house but it is drafty and cold this time of year. In the summer it's all breezy and shady, but right now I need as many warm, snuggly things to wear as possible! I'm actually sitting here cocooned in it right now ~ and LOVING every warm minute of it!:)

Naturally, while I was working on it, every time I had to put it down Scout made it her number one priority to guard my goods. Her favorite occupation is "wool~gathering"! Even Phoebe enjoyed curling up by an unwound hank for a little nap.
Also, just a quick note to tell you about my new favorite find: "Get a Grip" ~ fiber friendly handbalm. I found it at
It's a lanolin based balm that's offered in several different fragrances. I chose "romance" and is it ever divine! Those of you who work constantly with fibers are probably having much the same dry hand trouble as me, especially if you live in a cold weather climate like I do. I can't say enough good about this lovely product. It comes in a cute little tin that tells you on the back to "Rub a small amount into hands until slightly tacky. Knit/Crochet like crazy. Repeat". Don't you just love that?!

Hope you're all keeping warm and cozy wherever you are today. And doing the same as me~
knitting and crocheting like crazy!
"She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands." Proverbs 31:13

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pink Roses and Chocolate

What true romanitc doesn't love Valentine's Day?! My sister, Bridget, says it's her favorite holiday. I always get a kick out of the many things she can come up with to celebrate the day each year. A couple of years ago she and I spent the entire day making bon~bons for our sweethearts. We purchased every flavor if extract we could find and dipped and dipped and dipped for hours! There were dark chocolates, milk chocolates and white chocolates literally all over my kitchen. Covering them was a variety of toppings such as: coconut, nuts, dutch cocoa, and swirly lines of white chocolate (some colored pink). They were so beautiful when we were finished, I was truly impressed with us both! And what a memory we created. I'll think of it every time Valentine's Day rolls around forever. Of course, we realized we spent way more money than if we had bought fancy, quality chocolates, but where would the fun have been in that?! With Valentine's Day approaching again, I have roses and chocolates on my mind. So here's what I came up with for my Etsy shop. It's a sash that can be worn as a belt or a scarf. It's silky soft and fun to wear! And for me ~ it's as close as I can get to having chocolate. Sadly, I am allergic to this delectable mainstay in life. It's been a LONG 22 years without it! Thankfully, I have no such problem with roses ~ in any color!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tea and Friendship

Today I went to Krista's house for a luncheon to celebrate our friend Amy's birthday. For years now the three of us have traveled from home to home for monthly tea and coffee time, which we usually turn into a full blown lunch for a birthday. It's always so much fun to see all the pretty china and silver set out with beautiful food and desserts. The time spent together is refreshing, uplifting and relaxing. Our friendship has spanned more than two decades now. Through the years we've shared laughter, tears and much of life as we've watched each others children grow up. I was the first to become a Grammy, but this year Amy will enter that land of joy and wonder when her oldest daughter has her first baby in July. And, of course, Krista & I will be there to congratulate her immediately (and get our hands on that baby as soon as possible!). Doesn't friendship just make everything in life like one big, delicious tea party?!

The picture shows Krista on the left and Amy on the right.

Before I left I just had to take this picture of Gabby sitting on the couch "reading" the book Aunt Hilary brought home from the library for her last night. I love to watch and listen as she reads. She points to the pictures and jabbers along like she's reading or names the items shown. One of her favorite things to do is line up her baby dolls, or the puppy, and read to them while they go "night~night". There's absolutely nothing like the imagination of a child!

The book Gabby was reading this morning, entitled "Tea for Ruby", is just darling. It's written by Sarah Ferguson~The Duchess of York and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. Whether you have a child in your household or not, you should go to your local library or bookstore and take a peek at it. I think I'll purchase one for Gabby when she turns 2 in April. I get something tea related for her for every occasion. I want her to grow up with a love and appreciation for the many joys and benefits of afternoon tea time, especially when shared with friends!

"There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea." Bernard~Paul Heroux

"Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea." Author Unknown

"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea." Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

"Friendships multiply joys and divide griefs." Henry George Bohn

"There is no better looking glass than an old friend." Thomas Fuller

"The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend." Henry David Thoreau

"I am not of that feather to shake off my friend when he must need me." Shakespeare

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Warmth of Kindness

The last few days, since my post about New Year's resolutions, I've had kindness on my mind. Several years ago I went through about a two week period when everywhere I looked the word "kindness" was hitting me in the face. Every time I opened my Bible, a book, a magazine or any form of written word it jumped out as if in bold type. At that time I was still working full time at a bank and at the end of a particularly long hectic day, while driving home, I noticed the license plate of the car in front of me. You guessed it ~ it read "Kindness". Just that one word. And do you know, I saw that car everywhere I went for the next week or so! Now one has to finally say, "O.K. I get it. I'm supposed to sit up and take notice here."
During that time, my job entailed training new bank tellers. I began to make that the first order of business to teach each one of them. The importance of good old fashioned kindness. I told them to smile, be as pleasant as they could be and take an extra minute to chat with the customer. Most transactions at a bank don't take too terribly long and sadly enough it very well could be the only kind moment some people encounter on a particular day. It takes such a brief bit of our time and energy to be kind to the people around us. One never knows, maybe he or she just lost a loved one, got an upsetting diagnosis from the doctor, or is just plain lonely.

In any job the details can be taught and learned and performed mechanically day in and day out. But shouldn't there be so much more to us than that? I was thinking today of how those of us who work with yarn are constantly creating things to keep a body warm. I hope that in the meantime we are also cultivating the art of kindness, because nothing else warms the soul, spirit and heart of our fellow man quite like it.

That being said, I did crochet this shawl today, which will hopefully wrap its wearer in warmth!
"A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles."
Washington Irving
"To cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life." Samuel Johnson

" I expect to pass through this life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again." William Penn

"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Our Just Desserts

Yesterday afternoon, while Gabby and I were home alone and waiting for the rest of the family to start trickling in from work, we decided to bake a cake. This was Gabby's first cake baking adventure. She LOVED it and was totally thrilled with the scrumptious looking finished product. She could hardly wait for her "BaPa" (her word for Grandpa) to arrive home so she could show off her great accomplishment. The minute the alarm sounded that he had pulled into the driveway (the alarm would be 3 excited, barking dogs!), she ran to the back door and frantically turned the door knob hollering, "BaPa, BaPa,... Cake, Cake, Cake!". When he finally made it in with an arm full of groceries, stepping over and around doggies to his left & right (it really is the highlight of EVERYONE'S day the minute that man gets home), she climbed back on her chair and stuck out her tummy with a look of intense joy and pride in her eyes while he applauded her achievement in grand fashion! ( Sadly, I didn't have camera in hand for that precious moment). I sat the cake on a side table in the dining room so it would remain uncut until her mommy, the last one to arrive home, could see it. Then when we tried to take it from her to cut and eat, she began to cry. The four of us (Scott, Hilary, Chelsea & myself) began to despair that we would not get to eat cake at all. So, we set her at the table with fork in hand and let her have the first bite and she finally allowed us to cut into her delectable creation. In the end we all got our just desserts!

"...and a little child shall lead them." Isaiah 11:6b

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

To be real honest ~ I'm not too big on New Year's resolutions, simply because I know myself too well. However there are some good for me guidelines I try to follow day in and day out every year. To name a few:
*Endeavor to love the Lord My God with all my heart, soul, and might (and teach the little ones to do the same)
*Try to be the best I can be, comparing myself only to MYSELF (trying not to get hung up on my shortcomings when compared to others) - my victory in this one waxes and wanes!
*Love my family and friends as unconditionally as humanly possible
*Live at peace with all people as much as it depends on me
*Remember the order of the day (and moment) should always be KINDNESS (NEVER rudeness)
*Spend as much time as I can get away with being creative!

Of course there are many other MUST DO things for all of us. There's always, housework, housework and more housework...
But in the famous words of Scarlet, "Tomorrow IS another day"!
So, quite frankly my dears, I will most likely float through yet another day of NOT tackling the major disarray of all my knitting/crochet books & assorted paraphernalia that practically screams at me to tidy up a bit. (Notice in the picture of the book case there is still a wrapped Christmas gift waiting for a friend to return home!) What a mess!!! Oh well... I'd really rather spend my time loving on my granddaughter, playing with puppies, drinking tea, and staying elbow deep in yarn!

For now I leave you all with my love and teeny weenie poochie moochie kisses! Be blessed today!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sweet Confections

On these cold winter days my favorite things to do while nestled in the house are knit, crochet, or bake. I think that's what makes these cupcake creations so much fun. It's like doing all three things! This pretty in pink cupcake is a combination of knitting, crocheting and beading. I love the littles sparkles sprinkled all over the top.

Today is Becky's birthday, so this sweet confection was made especially for her. Happy Birthday Miss Becky! She has a real thing for cupcakes (which is why I am referring to this one as a cupcake instead of a "fairy cake"). She even has a pretty silver and pink
cupcake necklace she wears sometimes. So I thought I would add one more cupcake to her collection.
The other confection that is still on the needles today is working its way towards being a belt, or it can also be worn as a skinny scarf. I love the look and feel of this satiny soft Italian nylon ribbon yarn. The pink, brown, and white coloring reminds me of pink roses and chocolates. It has a zig zag of metallic thread running through the center. These belts are very chic and feminine looking when fringed on both ends and tied around the hips. This one will show up on my Etsy shop sometime this week. It would add just the right touch to a Valentine Dinner out!
As you can see, I had plenty of help with these projects last evening. For starters Phoebe felt like she had to condition the yarn with her razor sharp baby teeth. (Please try NOT to notice the fact that Phoebe is now the third one of my babies to model that same scarf!) Then they all three (Sophie, Phoebe, and Jose) snuggled in around me to keep me warm while I finished up.

*Please don't look too closely at my crazy looking outfit of green flannel snowflake pajama pants topped off by a pink and then a black sweater. OH ~ and the lovely rose colored reading glasses (I am after all a Grammy & I really do prefer to look at life through rose colored glasses!). What a get-up. Or as my mother would say, "What kind of GARB have you got on now?". I say --- whatever it takes to be as comfy as possible while we create!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Making Things Blossom

First of all, I must tell you, the lovely knitting done on the poncho Hilary is wearing was the work of someone elses hands. It was made using a gorgeous Japanese hand painted wool by Noro. A few days ago the girls from Ewenique Yarns contacted me with a finishing job. A customer of theirs brought the poncho in and asked if they knew anyone who could crochet. A friend of hers made the garment for her for Christmas and once she put it on they realized it needed some length added to it. They thought a crocheted border would be just the thing and I always agree with that! I've said before how much I LOVE to combine knitting and crocheting. They compliment one another so beautifully. And you know how I love, love, love to make all things blossom!!:) So, I added one of my favorite borders of crocheted violets. It's actually the same stitch in the "Like a French Melody" capelet for sale on my Etsy shop. I'm crazy about these sweet little flowers. Besides giving the item the extra length needed, they pretty the whole thing up so much. As Hans Christian Andersen said:

"Just living is not enough...
One must have sunshine freedom and a little flower."
So I like to scatter them everywhere possible! Blossoms of every kind are especially wonderful on these cold winter days while we wait for Spring, with its promise of freedom and sunny days, to come to us once again.
"May there be abundance of grain in the land;
on the tops of the mountains may it wave;
may its fruit be like Lebanon;
and may people blossom in the cities
like the grass of the field!

May His name endure forever,
His fame continue as long as the sun!
May people be blessed in Him,
all nations call Him blessed!

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be His glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory!
Amen and Amen!" Psalm 72:16-19

Don't you just love the part about people "blossoming in the cities like the grass of the field"?!
My prayer is that God makes me blossom wherever I am so I can be "the fragrance of Christ to those who are being saved and those who are perishing." (2Corinthians 2:15)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cold Weather Knitting

I seem to be in the hat making business these days. Hmmm... maybe these FRIGID days we're having are the reason everyone wants a hat! Christmas is over but the weather outside is still frightful. As long as I can hibernate inside my house and just knit, (well ~ and take care of babies & doggies!) I have to admit that I think the snow is beautiful. However, I do have at least one dream per week that I wake up to find January turned into April over night. Aah! Wouldn't that be a dream come true:). As much as I love to knit and crochet inside, my absolute favorite place to do these things is on my front porch with a warm, gentle breeze blowing. O.K. ~ back to hats ~ I'm getting cabin fever all of a sudden.

The pink hat Gabby is modeling for me is the one I made Chelsea for Christmas. Mommy is so busy with work and night school that I finally stuck it on Gabby's head for a picture. The green one just like it is a birthday present for a friend and the sweet little pink umbrella stitch hat was an order from my sister who has a baby shower to go to tomorrow. Hope she'll be able to drive over from Peoria this evening as planned to collect it. It just keeps snowing and snowing out there!
And now I really must get back to business. Between giving a private crochet lesson on Monday morning, teaching my Monday night class, and trying to keep up with several custom orders, I still haven't been able to finish the crocheted scarf I started a couple of weeks ago (the one Jose was trying to wear!). Plus I got a call from the yarn shop yesterday and have to run out to pick up a shawl someone wants a crocheted border added to. Actually, the plan is to make Chelsea run out to pick it up so I don't have to brave this weather. Those of you who know me well know I'm not that brave!!!
Now, if I could just figure out how to teach Gabby & these doggie babies how to wash dishes and do laundry my life would be a lot easier. Because who has time for housework?!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Pleasures of Teatime (and Puppies)

One of my favorite books on the subject of tea is "If Teacups Could Talk" by Emilie Barnes. It's filled with pretty drawings, stories of teatime traditions and yummy recipes. One of the chapters captures my sentiments on teatime exactly:

"The spirit of the tea party is, at least in part, the spirit of beauty. And I am fully convinced that we humans need beauty in order to live rich and fulfilling lives.
People wither when their lives are deprived of beauty.
People grow and flourish when they are able to respond to the beauty around them and create their own forms of beauty.
And the ritual of teatime allows room for both receiving and giving loveliness."

I think this is why I love to create knitted tea cozies. They add such beauty to the lovely ritual of teatime. My love for flowers, especially roses, comes together with my love for tea things when I design a cozy. They just don't look complete to me unless they're blooming!
"If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft
And from thy slender store
Two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed the soul." Persian Poet c.1300

Flowers in any form, be they fresh, silk, embroidered, knitted or crocheted, definitely feed my soul! I just can't resist filling as many of the nooks and cranny's of my life with them as possible.

Another favorite table top book I have is a gorgeous copy of "Victoria: At Home With Roses".
It was put out by the makers of Victoria magazine several years ago and is loaded with breathtaking pictures, recipes and all kinds of tidbits about roses. A quote from it states how I feel about roses and why the rooms in my house overflow with them!
"The rose as theme draws everything in a house into harmony, not only visually but spiritually. Opening the door to a house where roses reign is like opening the door on a dream."

The tea cozy pictured at the top of the page is a special order for a customer in Myrtle Beach, where it will be flying off to by the end of the week.

Phoebe update:
We LOVE her more each day. (Jose DOESN'T ~ not yet, anyway!)
Sophie still mother's her but is not as frantic about it as she was at first.
She follows me around the house whenever she's awake crying for me to hold her.
I did get a little more sleep finally last night. We were up only once. However, she still doesn't understand about the whole sleeping in thing! Early morning seems to be her favorite time of day ~ it's NOT mine!

And just like Gabby, she apparently likes a bedtime story.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Baby!

Meet Phoebe, our new Baby. She came home with us on Friday afternoon and what a circus it was for a while! Sophie, the other dachshund, immediately thought she was her puppy, which was not at all what we expected. She has spent the weekend guarding her, especially from the cats who get told off rather viciously every time they get in Phoebes general vicinity.

Jose, on the other hand, reacted pretty much the way I figured he would. I sat in the kitchen floor with her on my lap and let the other dogs approach to greet her. Jose gave her one sniff, went behind my back and promptly puked on the floor. He still growls when she attempts to play with him. I'm sure he'll be better in a week or two (hopefully). He just can't see why he should have to share HIS mommy with anyone else.

Gabby is crazy about her except for when she gets on her blankie or attacks one of her toys. Then she has a hissy fit! She loves the puppy kisses though. And you'll see in one of the pictures that Gabby read a book to Phoebe so she could curl up in her bed and go night-night! It was ADORABLE!

As for the rest of us, we're smitten with her pretty little face and sweet green eyes. Of course they really are such babies at this point (she'll just be 8 weeks old tomorrow), and they require a lot of attention. She thinks she needs to be held most of the time and cries until someone provides a nice cozy lap for her to snuggle into. She also wakes me up about three times in the night to either wee wee or play. Plus ~ she obviously didn't get the memo that Mommy is NOT a morning person & prefers not to rise before the sun! Ah, the joys of motherhood!

In the last picture you can see the heart on her side. She's laying so the bottom of it's cut off, but it actually does come to a point. And her beige colored fur has a slight pink cast to it. Anyone who knows me knows how I love pink! (And how crazy I am about dogs!!!).