Monday, October 31, 2011

Scary Goblins? Gruesome tricks? What I love about Halloween!

Monday, October 31, 2011
There is something about October and Halloween time that really strikes my fancy. Is it the crisp leaves, drying and falling? No, they make my nose itch! Maybe it is the crisp air with sunshine, if we're lucky. No, it reminds me of winter not far behind!

It has to be the color or maybe it's the apples! Fall colors are not ones that I do well, so I really do appreciate being surrounded by them in nature. It is a gradual process as the chlorophyll is spent

and the array of oranges, rusts and browns phase in and jolt the senses against the perfectly clear blue sky? Why is it that some burning bushes turn bright red much sooner than others?

Try looking at the big picture: a line of colorful trees in a park, blasts of color along the highway.

Apples are so fine just by themselves but amazing when they become a part of the myriad of recipes that I just have to make this time of year: apple pie, apple crunch, fresh apple cake with cream cheese icing, carmel apples, baked apples, sauteed apples, apple sauce and cinnamon apples! Then there are pumpkins and that gorgeous orange color again. Pumpkins are just as useful when it comes to recipes as apples. Afterall, the same spices, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, are often used. Pumpkin soup is a delight for the sense and I will have to search for an apple soup recipe!

Not only does nature decorate our scenery, but many neighbors get into it as well, some more tasteful than others.

Little kids get so excited about dressing up, candy and going out after dusk. The many shapes and colors of fallen leaves excites me or maybe it is the memory of pressing them between two sheets of waxed paper to preserve in a special book forever.

Did you every rake a pile of leaves and then make a leaf fort or just jump right into the pile?

Having lived in Mexico for two years, we grew to appreciate their comparable holiday: Did del Los Muertos. I combine the two in my decorating.

The Mexicans really do it better than we do. The don't get so gruesome and mccabe. They dedicate the first two days in November to celebrate the lives of their loved ones who have passed on, to remember with joy, their lives and their favorite foods. Here in Chicago, with our large Mexican population, there is even a cemetary that stays open past midnight to let them enter and have "picnic" of favorite foods by the grave of their dearly departed!

Halloween is a time for kids and "kids at heart." There are also so many adorable crochet items to be made for the little ones or for decoration around the house.
This is the second year Chloe has worn her Halloween Headband and hasn't lost it yet! The pattern to make it is in my Ravelry store:

I had added a new video to my channel on YouTube. It is a tutorial(in 2 parts)on doing the unique technique of Flatwork Bead-Crochet which is used in the pumpkin brooch: Part 1: Part 2:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Love Yarn day, October 14, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I was super-excited about this event and while there with all my crocheting buddies, I totally forgot to take pictures!We met on October 14, the day designated by the Craft Yarn Council as I Love Yarn day.

To me it was a no-brainer: what a perfect way to spend a day, celebrating our love of yarn, our love of the fiber arts and our love of edible treats.

I arranged for us to meet at Portillo's restaurant in Vernon Hills, IL and I posted it on the Northern IL Chapter of CGOA Ravelry page as well as the Ravelry events page. I also let the Crocheters of the lakes Chapter know about it. We had representatives from both chapters and we had quite a contingent of bi-stitchers who do both crochet and knit.

We shared tales of local yarn stores, we shared characteristics of the yarns we were working with and we shared french fries! It is amazing how our strands of yarn bind us together as almost instant friends. There is something about the fell of yarn running through your fingers and the opportunity to share creativity that brings a group together.

After two hours and having had lunch, we needed to be on our separate ways, but we vowed that this was a great idea and that we should do it again!

Here are some reports from my online crochet friends about what they did to celebrate the day:
-learn a new stitch-the Siberian stitch
-do yarnbombing for the very first time
-have an online mini-contest and crochet some pumkins
-work on a new design to be published as a pattern

My weekend in Indiana was full of family events and I was so thrilled to have my entire family together. Seeing grandchildren, Chloe and Jack was a super-sized bonus! Jack is almost 3 months old already and has come out of his "fog". He is growing like a weed and starting to get a personality and smile. Chloe is a dancing machine and has no fear. She is precious and sweet and oh so smart! (and I am not exaggerating!)

Niece Sarah's wedding reception was a lovely affair and we had a great time.

The next day we headed south to Frankfort where Alan's family was gathering for a reunion of sorts.

Sister Alice was in town from California as well as Cousin Connie from
Seattle. There are newborn babies, so it is a good occasion to get together.
We had a great carry-in meal
and after a lot of visiting and catching up, we headed to the farm where we relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon just visiting with Alan's siblings.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bobbles & Bikes!

Monday, October 11, 2011
It is Columbus Day and for many it means no mail and maybe even a day off work if you are a government worker. For me, semi-retired, it means pretty much the same: do the laundry and stay home and blog! Today is special, though; I met my friend Rita for a bike ride in Busse Woods (a forest preserve)
and we ended our experience with crochet lessons in our breakfast spot - Ritzy's.

Today was yet another incredibly gorgeous day and perfect for a bike ride. We do just under 8 miles in our route which takes an hour. The woods is loaded with fall color; the sites and sound of falling leaves and even a view of the Elk that live there. I am not one to count the days or pay attention to the weather; I refuse to let the weather get in my way! However, we have been having a phenomenon here in Chicago that must be counted: we are in at least our 9th consecutive day of glorious hi-70s and 80s temperatures with sunshine and not a drop of rain. Hallelujah!

Rita hosted me a couple of weeks ago to teach "her" kids how to crochet in the after school program. She says that seeing the kids learn inspired her to pull out her hooks and get started again. When we worked together at the hospital a few years ago, I was tutoring Rita on sock-making! As is often the case with crochet, Rita ran out of yarn before her scarf was finished, so she wanted me to give her some creative "oopsy" tips. I introduced her to the filet grid, little flowers and some bobbles. Being an art therapist, Rita will find the most creative ways to finish her scarf. I look forward to encouraging her along the way!

I'm immersed in flowers leaves and motifs myself this week. My work on my freeform scarf continues. I have it laid out on my ironing board upstaris and I am getting some good exercise as I walk up and down the stairs when I need to check on how the latest addition fits into the scheme. My Ravelry fan group started a new free-form Crochet-Along and I am "Designer for a Day" this week. I bet they were impressed at how early I got my instructions and photo up there this morning! Check it out and you are welcome to join us.

This afternoon the warm sunshine on the "crochet deck" will be calling to me. Here's what I have on the hooks: spider web doily, socks, freeform scarf, bead-crochet bracelet, shrug. Where do I begin?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Today Was a Day...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Today was a day like every day should be: early start and out for a walk in the warm sunshine and then off to the local yarn shop for my Fuzz-Along (formerly Crochet Connection). What a great group of serious stitchers and they are all so nice! We must have been celebrating the return of one particpant who had been on a 3-week river cruise in Denmark because we had donuts and candy corn today! I was able to help two of them with crochet quandries which always makes their day!

I even got a few more facets of my current free-form crochet creation done!

Following that group I gave a private bead-crochet lesson and another bead-crocheter was born into the world today. She was very excited about what she learned and was going home to continue "spiraling" beads. After a couple of errands, I still had time to read a few chapters on the sun-filled deck, but my mind was spining with thoughts of beads. I strung up a little mix of random-color left overs and made a quick little bracelet for almost-two year old Chloe. She was admiring GiGi's bead bracelets last time I was there, so I thought she should have her own.

Every day could be like this one; I wouldn't mind! All this after coming off from two other events: Block of the Month CAL (crochet along) where I went to lend support on Saturday and then last night my new Fibonacci Sequence study group. How great to have all these crochet options! I can remember a day when I thought I was the only one who crocheted and for sure, I spend my time crocheting alone!