What I've been up to lately...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Free Crochet Pattern and Giveaway

Pretty Baby Valentine Bonnet
Today, I'd like to share this sweet little bonnet pattern with you and
give you a chance to win the newborn size bonnet that I hand crocheted!
I've been working on some new hats for my etsy shop
and it seems I've gone a bit bonnet crazy.
I have one new baby boy beanie to introduce soon, but most of my new creations are bonnets.  There's just something about the way they frame a sweet baby face that I'm finding irresistible.  Bonnets are perfect for newborn portraits, Christenings and Blessings, Easter, or any other special occasion!  I have a few new designs...delicate lacy ones for baby girls and simple textured ones for baby boys, there are even a few with unexpected pops of color!  I will also have some special one-of-a-kind hats available!
Here's a little sneak peek of one of my favorites....

The bonnet pattern I'm sharing today is a bit more casual and works up really fast.
I was thinking of Valentine's day when I made this one, so I used a white cotton blend yarn and a red and white ribbon.  I finished it off with a cute little heart.
This same pattern could be used with any color yarn or ribbon to make a bonnet for whatever occasion you choose.  You could leave the heart off or even replace it with your favorite crocheted flower.
It's a pretty basic pattern so mix it up and have fun with it!
(Just remember to always supervise a baby wearing a hat that has strings)
On to the good stuff...

First...Enter the giveaway...
One lucky winner will receive this adorable newborn size Valentine's Day bonnet.
Do any (or all) of these things to enter (one entry per item, be sure to leave a separate comment here for each thing you do, each comment counts as an entry, up to 4 entries per person):

1. Follow my blog
2. Like me on facebook
3. Follow me on pinterest
4. Visit my etsy shop and leave a comment here to tell me which hat you like best and/or what you'd like to see more of (styles/colors/sizes, etc)

If you already follow me here, on fb or pinterest, leave a comment letting me know that, each comment will count as an entry...and  ♥Thanks so much, you're the best!♥
That give you four chances to enter!  The winner will be randomly drawn on Wednesday, Feb 6, 2013.
Good Luck!

Then...Crochet the hat...
Pretty Baby Valentine Bonnet
You will need:
worsted weight yarn in white and a tiny bit of red (I used Lion Brand Cotton Ease)
size I crochet hook for bonnet, size G hook for heart
1 yard of ribbon (3/4 - 1 1/2 inch width.  I used 1 1/2 in width and I folded in half when I laced it through the hat)
gauge 4dc = 1 inch
bauble = 2tr tog, ch, 2tr tog

Bonnet: with I hook and white yarn
Row 1: In a magic ring ch 3 (count as 1st dc), 9 dc, join with slip stitch in starting chain (10dc).
Row 2: ch1, sc in same stitch, 2sc in each stitch around, join (20sc)
Row 3: ch3, 2dc in next stitch, *dc in next stitch, 2dc in next stitch*, repeat between stars to end of round, join (30dc)
Row 4: ch, sc in next stitch, 2sc in next stitch, * sc in each of next 2 stitches, 2sc in next stitch*, repeat between stars to end of round, join (40sc)
Row 5: ch3, dc in next 37 stitches, turn (38dc)
Row 6: ch1, sc in next 37 stitches, turn (37sc)
Row 7: repeat row 5
Row 8: repeat row 6
Row 9: repeat row 5
Row 10: ch1, sc in next 17 stitches, 2sc tog in next stitch, sc in next 18 stitches, turn
Row 11: ch 4, *skip 1 sc, bauble in next sc, ch1, skip 1 sc, tr in next sc*, repeat between stars to end of row, turn.
Row 12: ch1, *sc in 2nd stitch from hook, sc in center of bauble, sc in next stitch, sc in tr* repeat between stars to end of row, turn.
Row 13: skip 1st sc, *6dc in next sc, skip one sc, sl st in next sc, skip one sc*, repeat between stars to end of row.  tie off.

Heart: with G hook and red yarn
In a magic circle, chain 3, 3 tr, 3dc, ch, dc, ch, 3dc, 3tr, ch3, slip stitch into ring.  Pull ring tightly closed and tie two ends together.

Weave ribbon through row with baubles (behind a pair of baubles and in front of a triple crochet).
Sew heart into place.

I hope you find this pattern easy to follow.  If you have any questions or something is not clear, let me know!
Please respect the work and creativity that went into this design and use the pattern for personal use only.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Everything is Special in an Ice Cream Cone

Here's a Healthy and Fun Toddler Snack!
When my kids want a special treat, but I don't want to break out cookies or sugary snacks, I have a secret Mommy trick...
Everything Is Special when it is served in an Ice Cream Cone!
Cereal, raisins and grapes are my kids favorites, but any small healthy treat will work.  You could try Granola, carrot matchsticks, cut up apples, those little baby food snack stars...anything small enough to fit inside the cone (that doesn't pose a choking risk to your child, of course!).
The best part is these mini cones have 0 grams of sugar...yes, ZERO!
This batch of samples barely made it through the photo shoot!
Notice the cones with the grapes were the first to disappear.
They were gobbled up in no time.
Happy 3 year old
+ Healthy snack
= Happy Mom!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Downton Abbey Knit Along

...and Crochet Along...
Presenting the Gem Cloche
My hat is finished...and I LOVE it!
I think it has that Downton Abbey Edwardian period turned flapper vibe...
But, I also think it has a modern chic about it too.
I used Loops and Threads Tempo yarn in Grey Gem.  It is a wool and acrylic mix...I prefer to stick with natural fibers, but the little nubs of burgundy and green on the steel grey background caught my eye.  I used varying stitch heights to give some asymmetrical interest and back loop stitches to give the band a bit of texture.  My favorite part is the split brim.  I grappled with the idea of connecting the lower part of the brim to the upper portion, but then when I tried it on, I really liked how it looked separated, so that's how it stayed.
It is adorned with a pin that I picked up in the jewelry and bead section at Michael's...but I think it would be great fun to find an antique pin to take its place.  The brim stays in place without being pinned so it's really cute without the pin too (I forgot to snap that photo).
I'm working on writing out the pattern (in a language that someone other than myself can understand ;p )
I will share it as soon as it's ready...
as long as you promise not to laugh at me modeling my hat...

You can read more about the knit along with luvinthemommyhood and see other people's creations here and here and here.
downton abbey knit along

Featured at...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Newborn Portraits...An Amazing Photographer and a Workshop

I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite photographers, Vanessa German.  She specializes in precious newborn, unforgettable family and stunning high school senior portraits.
Vanessa is the photo artist behind many of the sweet newborn photos that are in my etsy shop.
Like this one..
and these sweeties...
and, ohhhh, look at this one...
She really captures the beauty and innocence of the newborn.  Not to mention those precious squishable cheeks, bellies and thighs.  Don't you just want to gobble them up?!?!?

For all of you aspiring and/or awesome photographers out there, Vanessa will be holding several 2 day workshops this year.  On one day she will focus on teaching newborn posing and on the other she will discuss best business practices for running a photography business.  I'm sure it will be a great workshop for any of you looking to get a strong start using your photography skills in a professional way or for those of you wishing to grow, improve or expand your photography business.
And, for all workshop attendees, there will be surprise gifts and coupons from my etsy shop and from several other vendors!!!

You can read more about the workshops here:  http://vanessagphotography.com/authentic-newborn-workshop/
And you can find more info about Vanessa and see more of her brilliant photos here: http://vanessagphotography.com/

Monday, January 14, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness, in Honor and Remembrance...

It has been one month since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  My heart still aches for those lost and their families, my tears still flow frequently,  my arms still hug my own children as often as possible, sometimes with a bittersweet feeling that it could have been one of them, my mind still struggles to find ways to help and console and heal.
Arianne Barker at Changing My Marbles blog has come up with a beautiful idea to remember and pay tribute to the 26 children and adults whose lives were tragically lost on that day.  On the 14th of every month, she plans to perform a random act of kindness toward a stranger. You can read more about her plan here.
I am touched and inspired by her idea and plan to join her.  Nothing will ever take away the heartache of mourning those precious children and dedicated educators, but perhaps increasing the kindness and love that we give to those around us can be one small step toward healing our hearts and this crazy world.
no act of kindness
Here are some RAOK ideas that I've collected and plan to use in my community...feel free to use them in your neighborhood too and spread the kindness!

Feed parking meters

Pay for someone on line behind you (at a coffee shop, toll booth, deli, ice cream shop, etc.)

Hand out balloons to children or hospitalized patients

Tape money to vending machines

Hand out gift cards

Bring cookies/ doughnuts/ coffee to local police/ fire fighters/ EMTs/ nurses with thank you notes

Deliver stuffed animals/ art supplies/ books to a children's hospital

Pick up trash at a local playground or park

Deliver a flower arrangement to a hospital or nursing home ask a nurse to give it to whoever needs it most

Donate clothes/ shoes/ coats/ diapers to a homeless shelter or local church
raok sandy hook
May tomorrow's sun rise over a more peaceful and less violent world.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Treasures on Tuesday: Downton Abbey Millenery

I am completely addicted to Downton Abbey...
I love the characters, the story lines, the beautiful castle and all it's magnificent furnishings.
But, my absolute favorite reason to watch is to check out the amazing wardrobes.
Don't you just ADORE the gorgeous hats and the finely detailed gowns!

Anyone who knows me knows I have a weakness for hats...just check out my etsy shop!

Downton Abbey is a milliners fantasy!  

To celebrate the commencement of season 3 I've put together a collection of some of the fabulous hats from the series.

I will also be participating in the Downton Abbey Knit Along hosted by luvinthemommyhood.  You can join the knit along on here if you'd like to knit or crochet something Downton Abbey-esque between now and February 6th.  I will (of course) be designing and crocheting a hat. You can follow the knit along on the luvinthemommyhood blog, ravelry and flickr.  It should be a lot of fun and turn out some fabulously stylish creations!
downton abbey knit along

Yes, of course, even the {future} babies of Downton will have gorgeous chapeaux!

...hope you're not too offended by a sneak peek...

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