Pinecones and the park

Hubby and I spent a leisurely morning at a park in our area recently.  It’s a great little place – never too crowded, except on those too-gorgeous-to-resist days, when the park is crawling with photographers trying to get that perfect family portrait.  You park, you walk past the playground areas, and suddenly, you come upon a covered bridge, which we don’t have many of around here.

There are picnic areas, and once you’ve crossed the bridge, if you are in a mind to go off the beaten path a bit (which we always do), there’s a little path that goes around and loops back to a gorgeous rocky area of the river.

We finished the loop and came back up the path to the covered bridge.  As per the understood laws of society, the interior is covered in “Jimmy loves Norma” in every imaginable form.

On our way into the park, you know what else I noticed they have there?  Pine cones.  That’s right.  I spent the last 15 minutes or so of our adventure picking up pine cones.  They were just so huge and perfect and fresh!  (No, I do NOT have a pine cone fetish.  At all.)  You see, I came across this wreath project awhile back that I have been just itching to make.  I mean, how beautiful is it?  And it really can stay up for two seasons – fall and winter – which makes it the perfect project for me right now.

This garland and this topiary are just two more projects I would love to make for our home.  I have gobs upon gobs of pine cones now, so I ought to be able to make several.

Hubs got a bit bored towards the end.  I tend to get tunnel vision, and that day was no exception.  He had that “Isn’t this enough pine cones?” look on his face (on other days, you may also enter “yarn” in place of “pine cones”).  But he was such a good sport about it.  That’s just one of the many things I love about him.

-Shannon

Moss Stitch Mug Cozy

As I’ve mentioned before, I do quite a variety of crafts – I sew, I crochet, I knit, I paint…pretty much anything I can try, I will.  The fun part for me is that once I learn the gist of a craft, I can go wild with it and create.

Today, I am posting one of my own original knitting patterns for sale on Etsy for the first time ever! (See it here.)  To celebrate, I’m sharing another of my designs with you all for free.  It’s a charming little mug cozy, perfect for young and old alike, and easy enough that even the most novice of knitters can whip one up in no time.  It’s the perfect way to use up a little leftover yarn from a previous project, and you can crank these out so quickly that you can make one for all your friends and family for Christmas.  I hope you enjoy!

Moss Stitch Mug Cozy

Gauge: approximately 3 stitches per inch in pattern

Materials

  • Bulky weight yarn, or two strands worsted weight held together – I used two strands of Patons Classic Wool held together
  • 1 pair knitting needles, size 10 (6.0mm) (or size to obtain gauge)
  • 1 crochet hook, size J (6.0mm)
  • Tapestry needle
  • Measuring tape
  • 2 buttons
  • Thread, in color of your choice, and needle, for sewing on buttons

Abbreviation guide:

  • k = knit
  • p = purl
  • sl = slip (For example, “sl1 purlwise” means “slip one stitch as if to purl” – the yarn is held in the front.  “Sl1 knitwise” means “slip one stitch as if to knit” – and the yarn is held in the back.)

Measure the circumference of your mug.  Multiply this number by 3 (your gauge) to get the number of stitches for cast on.  (For example, a 10-inch circumference multiplied by 3 stitches per inch = 30 stitches for cast on.)  If the resulting number is even, add one stitch – you must always cast on an odd number of stitches – so, in this case, I cast on 31 stitches.

Using the long-tail cast on method, cast on the desired number of stitches and work the following rows:

Rows 1, 4, 5, 8, and 9:  Sl1 knitwise, *p1, k1; repeat from * to end of row.

Rows 2, 3, 6, and 7:  Sl1 purlwise, *k1, p1; repeat from * to end of row.

You can work as many rows as you like, for as wide a cozy as desired.  With 9 rows, I got a cozy that measures about 2-1/4 inches wide.

Bind off in pattern; weave in ends.  Block the finished piece to get it as close to rectangular as possible.

When blocking is finished, you are ready to sew on the buttons and make the loop that will hold everything in place.  Measure 1/2″ from one end and find the middle height-wise.  Mine measures 2-1/4″ high, so I will start at 1/2″ from the end at 1-1/8″ high.  Insert your crochet hook and pull up a loop, leaving a decent sized tail.  Now, you are ready to make the chain for your loop.  Chain 8.  Insert crochet hook back into your starting point and pull up a loop to connect.  Break yarn; weave in ends.

Flip your piece over so that your chain is actually starting on the back of the piece.  Sew one of your buttons over the starting point on the front side.

Place your second button in the matching spot on the opposite end of the cozy; stitch in place.

Wrap it around your mug, secure with the loop, and you are ready to go!

Til next time – Shannon

Hello world, it’s me

So it occurred to me today that I haven’t ever really introduced myself to the blogosphere-at-large.  I mean, I know I have my little “I’m a 20-something yada, yada, yada…” About Me page, but just who am I really?  Good question.

Well, turns out I am a 20-something yada, yada, yada, but I am also more.  I am Shannon.  I’m in my late mid-20s (he he), and I live in the bright and shiny state of Georgia.  (Well, it’s usually bright and shiny.  Today, not so much.  I’m crossing my fingers for tomorrow, though!)  I quit my day job recently (retail – eeeeyuuuuuck) to give my full attention to my Etsy shop, and now my blog.  Creating and designing have always been my greatest passions, and it was time for me to pursue them fully.  I have to say that I am loving every minute of it.

My workday is not the typical workday for your average American.  And I am very grateful for it.  I hate “the grind”, and I hope to never have to go back to it.  I love the freedom to create, to work by my schedule, to share my true talents with others.  I’m not even making any sort of substantial income at this yet, and yet it feels so much more fulfilling that any job I’ve ever held.  I guess that’s because it’s not a job to me – it’s my passion.

I’ll stop before this gets too long and rambly.  I just want to say “hi” to all of you out there, “thanks” to those of you who have welcomed me and who tune in to what I have to share, and “will you be my neighbor?” to those who I have yet to meet.  🙂

Til tomorrow,
-Shannon

Shop Launch Sale Starts Today!

I have been busy as a little bee around here.  Sew sew sew, paint paint paint, knit knit knit.  Or maybe I’m as busy as a Christmas elf.  Getting ready for all those gift shipments.  I thrive off the busyness.  It’s fun and exciting!

As several of you no doubt know by now, I recently re-launched my Etsy shop.  I sell handmade home decor and wearables – aprons, vintage-inspired signs, pillow covers, coasters, knit hats, you name it.

For the month of October, everything in my shop is 20% off for all buyers with Etsy coupon code LAUNCH.  Simply log on to Etsy and place one (or more!) of my items in your cart.  At checkout, enter the coupon code to receive the discount.

Feel free to share the coupon code – the more, the merrier!  It’s never too early to get a jump on all that holiday shopping, and I’ll be adding new items all month long!

So stop by and say hi.  As always, thanks for reading!

-Shannon

Fire up that stove – it’s time to cook!

Fall is finally here, bringing with it all the sights and sounds and smells that are so familiar but bring with it a quiet sense of surprise and joy every year.  At least for me.  It is my favorite season, so maybe I am a bit biased. 🙂

The one thing that those around my neck of the woods can count on every year is that when the weather starts to cool, I start to BAKE!  And cook.  I enjoy both.  But more than anything, I love to bake.  Cakes, cookies, breads, muffins, pies…the list could go on.  And I enjoy eating all of those  just as much as I enjoy making them.

Each cook has their own style, their own way of doing things that works for them.  To me, cooking is an art, and food is part of the creative process.  Cooking is to be enjoyed, and if I am in a state where I can’t enjoy it, I don’t do it.

Thankfully, life has slowed down a bit for me lately, and after a pathetic absence from my kitchen the past few months, I find myself enjoying cooking more again.  I’m making my old tried-and-true recipe favorites, and I’m looking for some new faves to add to that collection.

So, I thought I would ask you all: what are your favorite recipe sources?  Cookbooks?  Websites?  Blogs?  Fill my head with inspiration, and let’s cook together!

-Shannon

Current Project: Granny Stripes Blanket

Hello everyone!  Lately I’ve been working on a new crocheted blanket/afghan for either our sofa or bed.  (I haven’t decided yet.  It will probably start on one and end up on the other.)  My pile of acrylic yarn (all at once now: “EWW, acrylic!”) has been piling up over the past couple of years, and though I have come to prefer more natural fibers, I just couldn’t throw out or give away all this perfectly good yarn.  I am of the mindset that acrylic has its place in the universe, and keeping me warm in the winter is now that place!

I’m going incognito as ladylovely over at ravelry, where I found this great pattern.  I know this pattern has been around for ages, but I can’t resist how cute it is or how well it lends itself to the use of multiple colors.  I have been knitting almost exclusively when it comes to yarn crafts and found that I was really missing crochet.  I have been enjoying working on this project.  I’m using several bright, cheery colors that will brighten my day in the middle of February when it’s rainy and dreary and bitter cold.

Are any of you knitters or crocheters?  If you do both, are you preferential to one over the other?  Why?  Please share – I’d love to hear!