Sunday, December 22, 2019

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Oh my, how the time flies! I certainly hope this post finds you happy and healthy and enjoying the season. Keeping my fingers crossed for my mother and I, so far so good. My mom did come down with a relatively mild case of the flu in November (she had gotten a flu shot) so she wasn't able to enjoy Thanksgiving with the family, but things are looking on track for Christmas.

This year I crocheted a little something for my family, but I can't show you what I made because I do have a couple family members that read these posts and that would give away the surprise. It will just have to wait until after Christmas - but that doesn't mean I don't have something to show you. I found this adorable elf, and being in the spirit, I decided to give her a go. The "Free Pattern: Small Christmas Elf" from Kristi Tullus is so cute, but I saw a couple photos of what other people created and decided to give her a little more finished look with white edging on her hat, dress and shoes. I also put pipe cleaners in her arms and legs so they could bend a little.

I've said I'm making stuffed animals for all my mother's great grandchildren, and two of the six have been completed. And now - just in time for the holidays - Ta Da! - the Ballerina Bunny for Emily. Emily is the newest addition to our family, being born just last June, so she won't be getting this bunny for quite a while. I'm sure when her parents feel she's ready, the bunny will be given a  warm welcome.
I bought the pattern for "Bunny Lilu" from Tanya Kostochenkova of Crochet Friends Lab on Etsy. I lucked out because she was having a half price sale; at this writing she has a 25% off sale going. For the most part the pattern was well written, and I was able to figure out the couple of glitches without too much trouble.

Bunny Lilu
                   Bunny Lilu from Crochet Friends Lab

My Ballerina Bunny turned out a little larger (16" versus almost 12") because I used DK weight yarn and  a D 3.25mm hook, but that was fine with me. I wasn't a fan of the two little bows by the ears, so I used the "Crochet Hearts" hair bow from Katrina Payne at  Rebel Skein (don't you love that name?). I did use joints for her legs, but if I make another I'll follow what the designer had in mind. She created the joints by putting buttons on the outside of the "hips" and sewing through the 
body and both legs.

20191222_134944 (2)
            My version of "Bunny Lilu"
20191222_135121 (2)

Well, this is my last post of 2019. I hope you all had a terrific year; I wish you a wonderful holiday season and an even better 2020! And of course, Happy Crocheting!


Sunday, October 13, 2019

I Took a Little Detour

After my last post I said that I was going to start the black cat. Well, that was kind of true. But first I decided to take a break and crochet the Cuddle Me Bear from Amigurumi Today. That bear stole my heart quite a while ago and I just couldn't wait any longer. Plus, the designer has taken basically the same body and created quite a few more animals, each cuter than the next (of course!) and she's come out with some mini versions, about 4" tall. If you enjoy amigurumi, please check out this site - you'll be glad you did. Just be prepared for an overload of cuteness!

Cuddle Me Bear from Amigurumi Today, pattern here

My Version  

But never fear! After my appetite for 6" tall bears was sated, I did go on to crochet the black cat. I finally decided on a very cute guy named Charlie the Kitten by Kate E. Hancock. (Please click on the link if you want to see Charlie; I am not a tech wizard and my computer will not let me copy him to his post.)

My version of Charlie the Kitten   

My version ended up being rather different than the designer's because 1. the request was for a green-eyed black cat and 2. I wanted to make her female, so I made the feet smaller and the arms a little shorter. This is the first black item I've made. Now I know why people don't work with dark colors other than as an accent! Plus trying to take a photo that would show some detail was challenging too. Luckily I had a sunny day.

As you might know if you've followed this blog, it was six years ago this month that I tried my hand at a crochet business. I had some sales, but in truth, I've made a lot more money with garage sales than with this business! Wearing every hat to try to run a creative business was just beyond me. Plus, since I have come to take care of my mother, there is always something that needs to be tended to, which leaves me even less time. So I have closed the doors to my Bonanza store and I might do the same to my Pinterest, Tumbler, and Twitter accounts. I intend to keep writing this blog and to keep my Facebook account, at least for the time being.

I do want to sincerely thank everyone that has followed my blog or just dropped by to check out what was happening - especially those who have left comments! - and I will do my best to get more posts up in the future. Till then, happy crocheting!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Finally - One Down!

I believe it was back in July that I decided to make amigurumis for my sister's grandchildren. I began by asking them what their favorite animal was (and it didn't have to be real - fantasy animals were fine). Even though I've done some amigurumi designing, I wasn't even going to try to come up with the variety these kids gave me - a green-eyed black cat, an owl, a German shepherd, and two dragons.

I found some really great patterns, bought the yarn, and was excited about starting. I chose the owl to begin with -

  Toy Owl by Tanya Makarova of NustyUA,  pattern here  

I think it was probably a good thing I started with the owl, while my energy and enthusiasm were at a good level. I'm happy with the outcome, but what a lot of work!

My version of the Toy Owl

A side view of my version

The pattern, for the most part, was written pretty well. The designer had another person translate the pattern into English. There were a few mistakes, but nothing I couldn't figure out. I would definitely consider this project for a very practiced intermediate or  advanced crocheter. There were so many feathers to sew on! 

Then after I sewed them on - pretty much just at the top of each feather - I realized that I needed to go back and tack down the sides and tip so they wouldn't keep flipping up, which made for a very disheveled looking bird. He didn't have to be perfect, but I didn't want him to look like he'd had a go-round with a windmill!
Then I found I had to reinforce the edges of the wing feathers because they were very floppy. If I wasn't giving this to a seven-year-old, I'd have crocheted around wire for the edges, but I didn't want to risk it. Whip-stitching the edges with brown and then black seems to have worked pretty good. And if that wasn't enough extra work, I also needed to whipstitch the feathers around his face because I wanted them to stand out a little bit, not lay flat.

I've decided to do the black cat next. I do have an extremely bright craft light to help me along with this (no, I'm not that much of a masochist!), plus this cat doesn't look nearly as complicated as the owl. As always, happy crocheting - and wish me luck!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Still Hangin' in There

It looks like since I've been in Chicago to take care of my mom that one post a month on my blog will probably be the best I'll be able to do. {It has been determined that my mom needs someone to live with her, so I'll be staying in Chicago.} All the "after hospital" visits are now over so things have quieted down considerably. Whew! I appreciate the quiet. Now my next venture is to really go through the house and clean. I hate housework, but despite what my mom says, I know she hasn't been able to really properly clean for at least a few years now (and of course she refused to get a maid!). So today I attacked the tv room. It took over two hours, but it's as clean as I can get it.

In between all the appointments, cooking, and other cleaning, I did manage to get a couple hours in the evenings to work on more cross stitch.  Currently I'm at four down and seven more to go, not counting the butterfly -

It always amazes me at how long these small kits take to do, but then again, they do have so many little stitches! As you can see, I haven't cut them out to assemble the ornaments yet. I'll get to that later. I know - famous last words!

Now, as I said in my last post, I've been going through extreme crochet withdrawl. Trust me, it has not been pretty. Then I had a chance to meet up with my nieces and nephews and their children recently, and it dawned on me that I've never made anything for this latest generation. What a horrid aunt I've been! So I asked them all what their favorite animal was and I'm in the process of making amigurumi for them. Luckily, I was able to find adorable patterns for each of the animals. Paid patterns (except for one), but cute just the same. This is the one for Lorelei that I'm working on now -

                    Toy Owl by Tanya Makarova of NustyUA, pattern here

This owl is sooo cute, but you definitely need some patience. So. Many. Feathers!!! And then you have to sew each one on. I'm sure it will be worth it, though. With any luck, my next post will show you the end result. Till then - happy crocheting!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Best Laid Plans

At the beginning of this year I promised myself that I would post every week and become much more involved in social media to try to promote my store's patterns and products. For a while I wasn't doing too bad. But for those who have been paying attention, you know I totally fell off the wagon mid-April. Well, there was a very good reason for that.

On April 11th my mom fell and dislocated her hip replacement. This is the second time she's done that, and the third time she's fallen. Of course she went to the hospital and they put her hip back in place, along with three weeks of rehab. She came home May 1st and I have been living with/taking care of her since (I flew out from CA to Chicago the last week in April). But I guess when you're as old as my mom (92 yrs - and yes, she still lives in her own home), the medical oversight can't stop there. The past four weeks have been a whirlwind of physical therapy, occupational therapy, home nurse visits, personal care visits, and doctor appointments. Tomorrow we go to her orthopedist, where she's wants to get the ok to take off the massive hip brace she's wearing. Let's hope!

Of course, all this has meant that I have had to put any crochet on hold. After the last baby blanket I made, my hands (particularly my thumbs) were complaining loudly, so I decided to take a little break and try my hand at a beautiful counted cross stitch butterfly. I now realize how important it is to be AWAKE when you attempt counted cross stitch. I do believe that I've messed up part of the butterfly. I decided to put it aside and practice with other simpler counted cross stitch projects, hoping that these will get my brain in gear for the butterfly.

The Wire Whimsy kits are copyrighted 1995. Could it be possible I bought them THAT long ago?!! Anyway, I think I was in Joanne's after Christmas one year and these were on sale for 75 cents each (normally $4.49), so I picked up eleven of them. They have been very patiently waiting in a box for me - with a couple of other projects (that I haven't touched either) to keep them company. So far I've managed to finish the one Santa. I didn't like the stars on his goodie bag so I didn't include them, but I do want to put something on the bag because it looks a bit plain. I'll figure something out, but suggestions are welcome.
                                                         My version of Santa

When I was packing for the trip, I wanted to bring some yarn with me but just got the hooks in the suitcase. The plan was for me to stay until Mom got the brace off (6 to 8 weeks), and packing for such a long stay is daunting! Anyway, I packed the yarn and the suitcase ended up two inches too large. If the airline wanted to get picky they could've charged me an extra $200. I chose not to risk it.  The yarn had to be left behind, but I brought all the cross stitch ornaments.

I broke down, though. I am going through a severe crocheting withdrawal (yes, really!!!) and I couldn't help myself - a company offered $1.99 shipping and I ordered five skeins of #1 lace yarn. It's Lion Brand Amazing Lace, and I'm so hoping I won't be disappointed. The reviews were good - keeping my fingers crossed. I already have at least two patterns I want to make with the yarn, so I'm ready!

At this point things are up in the air as to whether I'm going to stay here with my mom or go back to CA. Much depends on how well she can do for herself on a daily basis. My SIL has been a Godsend - taking care of the shopping and driving her back and forth to appointments - but that's the limit for her, considering she's still running her own family. I still have another month to go, so we'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, I'll post when I can - and as always, Happy Crocheting!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Grandpa Easter Bunny

Since it is spring and Easter is around the corner, I thought I'd toot my own horn and let you know of a pattern that's available in my store - my Grandpa Easter Bunny!

He's all decked out in his Easter finery, and there's even a free carrot pattern that can be ordered with him. He's crocheted from about 100 yards of white sport-weight acrylic yarn (3.5mm hook), small amounts of size 10 cotton crochet thread (2.00 mm hook) for the clothes, pompoms for the muzzle/nose/tail, and 15 - 20mm wiggle eyes. He ends up about 8" tall, depending on how you pose the ears. The pattern is written in English using U.S. terms. I would recommend this pattern for an intermediate crocheter, or one that is well-versed in making amigurumi. Please note that pattern delivery isn't immediate. I have to email it to you, and I check my store every morning for purchases.

My sister feels that grandpa is lonely and is in need of a companion, and she has been patiently waiting for me to create a grandma version. I believe she's right, but it always seems that I'm knee deep in other projects when it's this time of year. I am lucky, though - Grandpa Easter Bunny hasn't complained so far, and he's always happy when spring comes around. Perhaps you can make one of your own to join your family this Easter!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

My Only Sunshine

 Apparently I have entered the stage of my life where the "children" are now having children. I'm not a grandmother yet, but I know plenty of women who are. That being said, one of my sister-in-law's girls is currently expecting her third - the gender has not been revealed - and so I thought it would be nice to make something for the newbie.

So, what to make? In trying to keep with my use-up-the-stash resolution, I wandered through the yarn I had and found some light yellow and golden yellow, perfect for something gender neutral. And then, Voila! - the Sunshine Baby Blanket was born.

I recently discovered the Crystal Wave stitch and I wanted to try my hand at it (pattern by Crochet for Baby) so that became the bulk of the blanket. Then I decided to use the golden yellow to create a small bobble border. Just because I think bobbles are fun, and babies should have fun things!

Then lastly, I needed to find a little sun for the corner of the blanket. There are many adorable suns in Crochetland, but the sweet little Sol Amigurumi from Vanessa Doncatto of the Yarn Handmade's Ravelry Store stole my heart - and it's a free pattern, too! Definitely a win-win.

So as I try to get "You are my Sunshine" out of my head, I wish you happy crocheting!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Hello Yellow Yarn

Another post in my "spotlight on designers" series, I'd like to introduce you to MJ Carlos, a self-taught crochet designer of adorable amigurumi and curator of the Hello Yellow Yarn shop. She lives with her husband and two children in Australia, and if you are not familiar with her work, you should give yourself a little cuteness fix and visit her website or store.

Two of Hello Yellow Yarn's free patterns available here
Her designs have a irresistible innocent simplicity to them, and I'm sure they would be very appropriate for the budding amigurumi crocheter. Obviously I'm not the only one who appreciates MJ's work - her designs have been published in several books including two of the Zoomigurumi series. She offers free patterns on her website as well as very attractively priced patterns in her store (most under $3!).

I am only allowed to publish one of MJ's photos on my blog (according to her copyright rules), so in keeping with upcoming holidays, I chose her Easter buddies. But really, if you're interested in creating amigurumi at all, do yourself a favor and take a peek at the rest of her creations. And, as always, happy crocheting!

PS - Just so you're aware, I do not get paid for any of my posts, nor is there any bartering or "quid pro quo" arrangement for my posts. These are all my opinions, and I publish them to spread a little crocheting delight into the world. Because - CROCHET!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Mini-Waves Stitch

I found this particular stitch on Pinterest. Originally it seems to have come from a Russian site,, although I couldn't find it currently on her page. I also couldn't find a name associated with the stitch, so because of how my version looks, I decided to name it the Mini-Waves stitch. I used Caron SS and a size H hook to make the sample.

My version - Ta Da!

 The original photo looks a bit more like a honeycomb, but there are crochet stitches with that name already, so I took a pass.

After I made a swatch, I was really surprised at how it turned out. I had expected a thick, squishy textured stitch, possibly good for a scarf or even an afghan. It's not. It's very stretchy, which might be all right for a hat. It's also a much more open stitch than what the original photo conveys (see second photo of my version below). The "wave" part is made from the ch 3 and it isn't attached to the main fabric, so it would be very easy to get something stuck in it and pull it out of shape. This stitch might work better in a smaller but sturdy yarn (cotton blend perhaps) and you need to work it fairly tight.

My version stretched and pinned to show open weave of the stitch

I still really like the look of the Mini-Waves stitch, but I don't feel it's very practical. It might work for a hat as long as you're careful not to catch anything in those ch 3's, but it would be way to stretchy for an afghan/blanket and too delicate for a scarf. JMO!

Of course, you don't have to take my opinion for it - why not give the Mini-Waves stitch a try for yourself? I'd love to hear what all of you have to say. And, as always - happy crocheting!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Vanna's Wrap

I have yet to create a triangular shawl, but I love crocheting wraps! This one was made from the oh-so-pretty Vanna's Glamour yarn, Diamond colorway with a beautiful silver metallic thread running through it; #2 weight, 96% acrylic / 4% other. Sadly, most of the pictures I took don't show the glimmer of the silver strand, but the second photo is better. Trust me when I say that this yarn makes a very pretty evening/date/party wear accessory.

I used a very simple stitch because I wanted a lacy look plus have the beauty of the yarn dominate. It was a V-stitch (dc, ch 3. dc), skip 3 chs, in 4th ch work v-stitch, repeat. In the second row you work 5 scs over each ch 3 of the V-stitches. In the third row you work a V-stitch in each 3rd sc of the scs worked in the 2nd row. Repeat rows 2 and 3. The edging was ch 3, ch 3 picot, ch 3, sc in 3rd sc of 5 scs; along the other three edges was just a simple ch 4, skip 2 chs, sc in next ch. Just for any of you that might be interested!

It's always so nice when you like what you've just made and I'm very happy how this turned out. Now that my latest creation is complete and ready to find a home, you can find it for sale in my shop here. Happy crocheting!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Ode to the Granny Square

As pretty as the traditional granny square is, it seems that in the past few years that there has been an explosion of absolutely magnificent designs. Personally, I've never been really into motif-type designs (although I have made a couple of blankets with them), but with the designs I'm seeing now, I might just have a go!

Some designs are so detailed with many color changes, I'd think for time's sake it would be best to work squares for the parameter of a blanket versus every part of it - but that choice is up to the crocheter, of course. I also love how some squares have been enlarged to make a throw pillow or miniaturized to make coasters. Without further adieu, here are my picks for some of the most beautiful of the designs available -

square, Blizzard-Warning 3
Very appropriate for this winter! Blizzard Warning from Polly of Every Trick on the Hook, free pattern here.  


Victorian Dream Square by Cindy Arman, free pattern here. You know I had to include a little lace, right?

Dainty, detailed, and delightful! The Pondoland Square by Jen Tyler, paid pattern here

Love Ladder Square, free video instruction here. Even though this isn't the most elaborate square, I really liked the twist on the basic design!

Absolutely sumptuous! Diagram #19 from Crochet Kingdom, free chart here

One for the babies! Monkey Square by Caitie Moore of Thoresby Cottage,  paid pattern here. She has collaborated with with many more animal squares. Visit her blog for more info.

Love the colors in this Amazing Star Square offered by Kathy B from Queen of All Crafts, paid pattern here

And last but not least, the Elements CAL from 2017 that gave us such dazzling patterns! Designed by Sandra Kuijer; free pattern here
 Hope these have given you some inspiration - happy crocheting!

Sunday, February 10, 2019


In my last post I discussed my attempt at trying to be more organized with my blog posts by coming up with categories. When I can, I'd like to showcase a designer that I found while perusing the internet that I think is really good and that you will enjoy, if you aren't aware of her/him already. Today I would like to introduce you to Jennifer at Chain8Designs.

Unicorn headband
I belong to an email group called Bloglovin', where you can sign up to receive posts from blogs you wish to follow - and they usually throw in a few more they think you might like. This Magical Unicorn headband design showed up in my feed, so of course I had to find out about the designer.

She doesn't have a large assortment of designs (but then, neither do I!), but what she does have is wonderful. Jennifer also has Holiday Mouse and Festive Reindeer headbands, plus a fantastic Twitterpated Heart Beanie just in time for Valentines Day! And best of all - her patterns are free! So hurry and get over to see her work right now. You can also follow her on Instagram, facebook, and Pinterest. BTW, Jennifer's pinterest boards are terrific, so make sure to check those out too.

I hope you enjoy Jennifer's work as much as I do, and, as always - Happy Crocheting!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Crystal Waves Crochet Stitch

I've been trying to get myself out of the "blahs" lately, plus trying to get myself a bit more organized. So I came up with a plan to try to categorize my posts. You see, I don't always have something new on the hook every week to show you - sometimes my best might be once a month! However, I'd prefer you not get bored and drop me altogether, so I've come up with categories of posts to find fresh material that will keep you interested. Sounds good anyway, doesn't it?

One of these categories will be crochet stitches. Most of us crocheters like discovering new stitches, and even though I'll do my best to find "new" ones, my main goal is to spotlight interesting textures from lace to bulky.  My latest find is the Crystal Wave stitch. It is a really simple stitch but creates a beautiful texture, and I'm currently using it to make a baby blanket designed by Crochet for Baby (you can find the free pattern here). Below are some examples of the stitch -

Crystal waves 1
                           Crystal Waves Baby Blanket by Crochet For Baby

Crystal Waves 2
Crystal Wave stitch blanket by Crafting4You, here                                                                                                        
Crystal waves 3
Found on Pinterest here, no identification given                                                                                                           


My version of the stitch  

 Crochet for Baby has a video of how to do the stitch plus an extra video on how to do the last row of single crochets here. If you do a google search, I'm sure you'll find many more tutorials on this wonderfully textured stitch - Enjoy!


Monday, January 14, 2019

A Bad Case of the Doldrums

For whatever reason, I've been dealing with a rather long period of the "blahs". It's not often I get this way and usually after a couple weeks I snap out of it, but this time it's lingering. This is how I felt by Christmas, and I ended up spending most of that day in and out of sleep on the couch. 

Perhaps part of it is because SoCal has been getting a lot of rain lately (our winter), and rain always makes me want to curl up under some blankets and just watch tv or read a good book.

Anyway, I have been making a valiant effort. Since my YS took his paper Christmas tree present with him when he moved out, I began a crochet tree to replace it. I've written down the pattern for future reference, I'm almost done with the crocheting part, I have a pretty filigree star to go on the top, and I bought lovely gold pearls to decorate the tree with - and then I ran out of steam. So it is currently sitting on top of my entertainment unit, mocking me every chance it gets. Plus I'm still working on my Nest Stitch Shawl.

Then I decided that I should make something out of the two skeins of Mandala Sparkle that I couldn't resist picking up. I can't tell you any more at this point, because I'm hoping this will be a present - sorry, you'll have to wait. But now I've gotten bored with this one too.

I've been told that two more women of the family are pregnant and due in June and July. I bought a wonderful pattern from Kate Wagstaff called the Queen of Hearts Afghan (paid pattern here), which I think would make a great wedding/baby shower present. I plan on using Caron Simply Soft in white for the base, and blue mint, blackberry (a pink), limelight (a green), and persimmon (an orange) for alternating heart colors to give to the 1st-timer due in June. The woman who's due in July already has two girls, so I'm not sure if we'll be having a shower for her yet, but I'll make something for her anyway.

Queen of Hearts Afghan By Kate Wagstaff

I know this is rather late, but I hope that all of you had a wonderful New Year's. I won't be doing a "resolutions" post this year. The fact is that my resolutions are still the same - keep using my yarn stash (ok, I'm trying!), post three times a month, make my quilt afghan, and create my butterfly box. I did use some of my stash last year, but I was very bad and bought more yarn. I did finish the Martha Stewart fabric balls craft AND I finally finished organizing my bedroom/craft room - Yeah, two off the list! And of course there's always the loose 10+ pounds, eat right, exercise more, and establish world peace. Maybe I'm just dragging my heels because if I actually finish the resolutions I'd have to come up with more (although the last one might take a while...).

Till next time, happy crocheting!