Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cowboy the Magic Horse

Wow! So it's been awhile since I've graced the blogosphere, huh? I'm not sure why I've been away so long, but I'll try to be a better blogger (we'll see...).

This photo sums up how embarrassed I am about how neglectful I've been...

Yeah, I'm ashamed to show my face.
I'm so ashamed that I have to admit that this isn't even a picture of me! It's my daughter. But you get the point.
Anyway, I'm not here to keep apologizing for my absence, but to share a project I did a few months ago, and tell you a wonderful story behind it.
First, I'd like to introduce you to a very special horse. His name is Cowboy.
Rumor has it that he's magic...
You see, Cowboy, did an extraordinary thing for a very special lady in his life. Her name is Sheila...
...and Cowboy saved her life.
This is an excerpt written by Sheila on how Cowboy did just that:
"People often ask me how I found out I had kidney cancer. The answer is simple: a horse.
The Journey began six months after I started riding a horse named Cowboy. In the fall of 2008, Cowboy's personality completely changed. He kept wrapping his head around me and bumping my lower back with his nose. At first I thought he was trying to bite me but, as it turns out, he was trying to tell me something was wrong. One day, while practicing emergency stops atop Cowboy, I felt a small snap in my back. It was the exact spot where Cowboy kept bumping me and, as I put him in the barn, he again bent around me to place his nose on my back as he stood very quietly. My doctor ran a battery of tests over the next few days which revealed that I had a very aggressive case of Renal Cell Carcinoma. I was referred to UCSF because the cancer was so advanced. I told the treating doctor there my concerns, that I wanted to ride Cowboy again, and that not being able to ride again was not an option. Her exact words were, “I will never take away something that will keep you alive.”

While Sheila was going through cancer treatment, she met a little girl also receiving cancer treatments.
"She sat and talked to me, so full of hope that it dawned on me that hope is something we should all have. Cowboy and that little girl gave me hope."
As a result of this experience, Sheila decided to write a children's book about her miraculous horse. It's called "Cowboy the Magic Horse".
According to her website, the book is about "unconditional love and friendship between a young girl and her horse, it leaves readers knowing that with love and hope anything is possible."
Now, here's where I come in...
I have known Sheila for over 16 years. We have worked together off and on for those 16 years, and she is currently my boss. But, she is also my friend.
Last year while browsing one of my favorite knit/crochet pattern sites (Ravelry), I came across an adorable crochet pattern for a horse. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make Sheila a crocheted Cowboy.
I found several pictures of Cowboy on his Facebook page. I wanted to be sure I got the colors and his spots just right. It was a really fun project, and I was very happy with the results:
I gave "Little Cowboy" to Sheila for her birthday last September, and she loved him!
Sheila recently got to pay back Cowboy for always being there for her when she was sick. Cowboy just went through a rough patch himself, but his ever faithful sidekick, Sheila, was the one this time to stand by his side and help him through.
True and faithful friends forever...


Monday, September 17, 2012


A few months ago, I started seeing these beautiful crocheted circles around the internet. I learned that they are called "Mandalas", and I also learned that I wanted to make some!

After doing a quick Google search on Mandalas, I learned that "Mandala" is a Sanskrit word meaning "circle". Apparantly mandalas have spiritual and ritual significance in both Buddhism and Hinduism. Being that I am neither Buddhist nor Hindu, I was unaware of their origin.

That being said, I found the crocheted mandalas to be beautiful, and I wanted to try my hand at making some.

The first mandala I made was inspired by this one:

You can find a tutorial on how to make it here
And here is my version:

I kind of wish I would've used more colors, but I'm still happy with how it turned out. I think I'll make another one sometime and use more of a variety of colors.
Another mandala I made is actually a potholder pattern, but I'm putting it in the mandala category. I found the pattern on Ravelry. Here was the inspiration:
I love all the bright colors used in these!
And here is my version:
And from the rear...
The two sides are two seperate pieces, and then crocheted together. It is nice and thick and can be used as a potholder or a trivit. You can get the free pattern here.
The next mandala I made came from a pattern I found at DROPS Design. If you haven't discovered this site yet, go now! They have hundreds of free knitting and crocheting patterns, and they are spectacular! When I first saw this pattern, I thought it would look good in different colors. The example they have on their site is pretty basic:
I still have to crochet the two pieces together, but here's my version:
I may eventually turn this into a pillow. It's pretty big.
My final mandala is the queen of all mandalas.
She is gorgeous.
She is breathtaking.
She is the supermodel of mandalas.
I first saw the pattern on Etsy. I was taken back immediately, but it looked so difficult, I didn't think I had the skills to make it. I put it into my favorites list, and there it sat until one day a couple months ago, I saw a call for a Crochet Along at A Creative Being. She was going to have a group work on it together, and help each other out. Yay! I decided to join in.
Ok, I have to admit, I almost gave up before I even got very far. I must have torn out as many rows as I put in. I have to say, it was hard! But since I had the support of a group of ladies who were going through the same struggles as I was, I decided to keep trying. Once I got going, things did get easier, and I'm proud to say that I finished it! And it's gorgeous!
So, here she is...
And here is her close up...
Pretty wowza, huh?
But I can't forget the back...
What happened?!
She looked so good from the front!
My eyes are burning and my head hurts...
I hate weaving in ends...
So, there you have it.  Mandalas. One of my newest obsessions. If you are a crocheter, I highly recommend giving these a try. Most of them are pretty quick and easy, and the color possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Happy International Crochet Day!

I've been a bit AWOL around the blogosphere lately. I don't have a good excuse. Just laziness, I guess.

Anyway, I found out that today is International Crochet Day!

(Looks like someone is celebrating a bit too hard, huh?)
Well, I thought I'd join in on the celebration of the craft that consumes my life. I'm not admitting to any sort of addiction or anything, but I am a bit obsessed I must say (as I glance over at the pile of unfinished projects).
So, as a way to join in on the fun, I thought I'd be ever so gracious and offer one of my original patterns for FREE! (and cue the applause)
Since I've decided to spread the love, I am offering my Perry Panda pattern for free for the next 24 hours. I'm on west coast time, so this offer will expire around 11:00am, Thursday, September 13, Pacific Standard Time.
I hope you all enjoy making a Perry Panda for yourself or someone you love!
Have a great day!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Look Back...

I have a few new projects that I've been working on to share with you, however, my husband went out of town this weekend and took both cameras with him, so I can't photograph my stuff :(

I was just poking around on Ravelry, and ventured onto my project page. I haven't added anything to it in awhile, but had fun reliving some of my past projects. I decided to share them with you. (Aren't you lucky!)

Before I took up crocheting about 3 years ago, I was exclusively a knitter. I got hooked on knitting when I starting watching Knitty Gritty on the DIY Network several years ago. I love Vickie Howell, and she made knitting look cool and fun.

I'm a very visual learner, and I basically learned how to knit by watching Knitty Gritty. I really miss that show :(

On one of the shows, they showed how to make a simple felted knit bag, which included an overlay design. I decided to give it a try, and here's what I made:

I really love how it came out. I never did put a liner in it, and it really could use one, so maybe one day, I'll get around to that (Ha!).

When I got more comfortable with my knitting skills, I decided I wanted to try cables. I decided for my first cable project, I would try using a bulky yarn, which seemed easier to learn on. I found this pattern on the Lion Brand website, and here is my finished scarf:

I still really love this scarf and use it every winter. It's so big and warm.
About 3 years ago or so, I decided to try learning crochet. My grandmother used to crochet a lot when I was a kid, and although she tried to teach me a few times, I never really was interested in it until after she passed away. I really wish she was around to see how I've adopted her love for knitting and crocheting. I think she'd be really happy. My grandmother made some beautiful things, and thankfully I have baby blankets that she made for both of my kids when they were born.
When I first started crocheting, I stuck to learning how to make simple squares. I made several blankets for family members, but decided I wanted to expand my horizons. Then I discovered amigurumi...
I LOVE making little crochet critters! If you look in my Etsy shop, you'll see some of the creations I've come up with since learning this wonderful artform. There are literally hundreds of free patterns to be found in the amigurumi world. One of my first original creations was my take on the Sock Monkey. This was the first one I made:
He sold some time ago, but he still holds a soft spot in my heart <3
I have made several monkeys since this first one, and I still enjoy making them in all sorts of different colors.
A couple years ago, a friend of mine was pregnant with a little girl, and I was invited to her baby shower. Hooray! I love crocheting for babies and children. I saw a cute crocheted doll pattern on the Lily Sugar and Cream website, but when I tried to follow the pattern, I wasn't completely pleased with how it was written. I was feeling more confident in my crocheting skills, so I took their basic pattern and changed it up a bit. And here's what I came up with:
Well, she was the hit of the baby shower! No one could believe that I had made her myself (I almost couldn't believe it either!) Needless to say, my friend was thrilled with the doll, and immediately put her on a shelf so she wouldn't get ruined. Unfortunately, I did not write down my pattern for this doll, so she may become one of a kind. I think I will need to come up with a basic doll pattern. I forgot how cute she was!
So, there you have it. A look into my knitting/crocheting past. There have been so many more since these, but these were my inspiration to continue to create.

Monday, August 20, 2012

That's Quite a Parking Job

I live in a small town which is connected to a larger, but still relatively small community. I moved to this community about 16 years ago from a large metropolitan area. When I first moved here, I noticed right away that people drove differently, and when I say "differently", I mean BADLY!

We unfortunately have a high number of traffic accidents around here, and many are fatal ones. You always have to be on the lookout while you drive.

Another problem people in my community have is parking. It usually looks something like this:

or this:

or this:

Ok, maybe not that bad, but you get the point.

As a regular visitor to Pinterest (and when I say "regular visitor", I mean "obsessed"), I like to get a good laugh in the Humor section.

I have seen several of these humorous Bad Parking Cards on the humor board.

For example:

or this one:

But my favorite one was this one:

I decided that I had to make some of these for myself.

I got on the computer and onto my trusty old friend, Paint Shop Pro 7, and got straight to work.

Here's what I created:

I immediately printed out a page full of these on white cardstock, cut them out, and placed them in my car. Now I'm fully prepared for the next time I come out of a store, only to find I have 2 inches of space to squeeze into my car. I can't wait! Bring it on bad parkers!!


P.S. -- Feel free to borrow my card and print some out for yourself!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

It's a Work in Progress Part 2

Sorry I've been ignoring my blog lately. It 's the end of summer vacation for my kids, and every day I hear, "What are we going to do today? I'm bored!" So, being the amazing mother that I am, I've been entertaining my children during the last few days of their freedom.

If you read my last post, you saw that I'm a bit ADD when it comes to my crochet. Well, the saga continues...

These are the newest projects that I have started and have yet to finish. I know...I have issues.

Let me break down my latest projects for you:

These two pieces of colorful goodness are going to be a fabulous pillow someday.

I had always wanted to try the log cabin pattern, so I thought a pillow would be a quick and easy way to try it out. I love the bright colors!

I wanted something a bit different for the back, so I went with a traditional granny square. I love the color combination so much in this granny square, I may have to revisit it someday in the form of a blanket. (That's all I need...another project to start)

Now that I have a few unfinished pillows that just need insides, I'm hoping to drag out the sewing machine this next week and get them finished!

I also started on a few of these lovely squares. They have a dream to some day become a blanket...

I'm hoping to make their dream come true some day!

As I was making the granny square for my pillow, I realized that I had never tried granny stripes. Well, that did it, I had to get started right away!

I'm making it in the colors of my daughter's room, so I'm hoping that some day it will grace the end of her bed. (She'll probably have changed the colors of her room by then.)

This next bit of gorgeousness is one I worked on earlier in the summer. Actually, I had made the hexagons several months ago. (What a surprise!) I came across a pattern from Lion Brand for a cute hexagon bag one day, and had an "Aha!" moment. I remembered my poor, neglected hexagons, sitting quietly in a closet, and told them that it was their time to shine!

The bag was really easy to put together, just a bit time consuming.
I'm thinking it needs some sort of liner, but that's for another day...

Now that your hand is probably tired from scrolling this page for so long, I'll sign off for now.
But don't get me wrong...there is more...
There is always more...


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

It's a Work in Progress

Ok, I'll admit it...

I'm not the type of person who can start one project and finish it before starting another one. I get distracted easily. I get inspired a lot. I'm impatient.

I always have several projects going at once, but I like it that way! I usually finish them eventually (ok, sometimes not). I admit that I do have a pile of unfinished projects stashed away.

It's the sign of a true artist! A bit scattered, but always creative. (I'll just keep telling myself that)

Anyway, I do have a few projects that I've been working on lately, and I've even finished some! Hooray for me! I'm close to finishing a few as well. I thought I'd share some of the things I've been working on recently.

The first couple are similar, just in different color schemes. I saw this pillow on this blog and had to make it!

Isn't it so cool?

She even has a tutorial posted on her blog to show you how to make it.

Well, since I'm a self confessed yarn hoarder, I knew I already had enough colors to make this without having to purchase any additional yarn. (I was pretty much right). I used Lily's Sugar and Cream cotton yarn and an H hook.

This was a great project to do while watching the Olympics!

So, here is the completed top of my version...

...and here is the completed bottom...

Now all I need to do is make a pillow insert and then crochet the pieces together. I'm hoping to get that done today.

As I started making this pillow, I thought it would be cool to make one to go in my daughter's room. I wanted it to coordinate with the "Hello" pillow I made for her. So I started a second pillow in colors to match her room (Yes, my inspiration got the best of me, and I couldn't wait to start it before finishing the first one).

So, now I have also completed the top of the second pillow...

Nice, yes?
And I've almost completed the bottom of the second one as well...

Only a couple more rounds and this puppy will be done!

But, of course, it wasn't enough that I had these two projects going. I needed some instant gratification! I'm impatient, remember?

So, I pulled out an old pattern the other night that I had made before and whipped out this little gem in just a couple hours...

Starfish Dishcloth

I found the free pattern for this dishcloth here...

It's a quick and easy project, and I even learned how to do a reverse single crochet! I had to go to You Tube for that.

Well, if you're thinking that's all I've been working on, you'd be wrong. I told you I was a bit scattered!

Tune in next time to see what else I've been working on this summer!
Until then, I think I'll go back to Pinterest for more inspiration! (like I need more projects)