Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Crocheted Chocolate Bunnies

One door may have closed this week, but another one opened, proving I could still find it in my heart to love again! Not a moment too soon, he is everything I could ever hope for. My heart fills with joy at the sight of him. I tip my crocheted hat, in tribute this Tuesday, to the Chocolate Bunny!

Yes, the Easter Bunny can fill our baskets with all the eggs, jellybeans, and every kind of sweet imaginable, but my "basket full of Easter joy" would never be complete without a chocolate bunny!

The very first confectionery bunnies can be traced as far back as the 1700's in Germany, where the first tales of the "Oschter Haws", or "Osterhase" (the Easter Hare) were told. If children were good, he would come to hide eggs for them to find. The Germans came to America, bringing their traditions with them, a good number of them heavily concentrated in Pennsylvania. It is said that here, sometime around the early 1900's, that the very first chocolate bunny was ever made! Automation, and increased production during WWII boosted sales, and today approximately 90 million bunnies are produced and sold each year, for the celebration of Easter!

My crocheted chocolate bunnies were made pretty much (but not to the exact letter, as I added a few rows to the body) by following a pattern, Love Bunnies, by Erika Hughes. I used 4-ply acrylic yarn in a dark chocolate brown color, with a size F hook, and found I could make 3 bunnies (approximately 9 1/2" tall) out of one 7-oz. skein. I used 1" grosgrain ribbon for bows. Next, I wanted the eyes and noses to resemble candies. I played around with buttons for a bit, but I wasn't happy with how they looked. Preferring not to pay unnecessary expenses, nor to make a field trip out of this project, I decided to go with the (9 x 6 mm) pony beads I had on hand. I found I was very happy with how they looked. This little chocolate bunny trio worked up fairly quickly, and I really did enjoy making them! Still, nothing could ever take the place of the real thing.

Chocolate Bunny, oh Chocolate Bunny.. Wherefore art thou, my Chocolate Bunny? Shall I see you on Easter morning?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Well, Hello My Spring Dolly!

Hello Dolly, Well Hello Dolly!
It's so nice to have you right where you belong!

Here she is! My entry for the "Little Madness In the Spring Rag Doll Challenge"! I have named her "Alliebean". Her body is made of cloth, of course, as guidelines were set; but my truest, comfort zone is with crochet, surrounded by all my hooks and yarns, so I crocheted her outfit for this event. I am including my own original pattern for this dress today, if any fellow participants would like to try to make one like mine, or for any of my readers who would like to make one for any of their own similar sized doll!

Oh but WHERE are my manners?! We were just introducing Alliebean, weren't we?! Well, I just couldn't decide on only one photo of her! The theme of this event was SPRING, so...

Photo No. 1: Here is Alliebean in a spring setting, enjoying the fresh air, and joined by some little woodland creatures who are as happy to see Spring as the rest of us! Her skirt is designed with panels of long green leaves, with silk roses applied to each one. I loved choosing just the right lace and trims for my new doll! They are all hand-sewn to the outfit.

Photo No. 2: Won't you join little Alliebean for tea with me?! Apparently we have another guest joining us! Well, that's just wonderful! We're happy to have ALL our visitors today!

Photo No. 3: Here you can see the back view of my doll's outfit, if my dear Allybean will pardon us for just the moment.

Photo No. 4: Peek-a-boo! We couldn't resist an early Easter Egg Hunt!

This was such great fun! We do hope you enjoyed having tea with us today, and are having fun traveling through Blogland to see all the other wonderful new doll friends being introduced today! Oh, if you need directions getting around, to see all the new Spring Rag Dolls, make sure you stop at Blithe and Blonde, and look for City Girl Em's link list to find everybody who is participating today!

Now, if you are interested, here is my very own original crochet pattern for the outfit you see on Little Miss Alliebean!...

Well Hello Spring Dolly Dress
(c) Written and designed by Beansieleigh (TS) March 21, 2009

Level of Difficulty: intermediate, perhaps, but beginners can certainly give it a try!
Size: made for a cloth doll of approximately 10-inch height
Gauge: 2 rows/rounds of sc, using white = approximately 1 cm.

Materials needed:
Bernat Baby Coordinates yarn, in white
Red Heart Super Saver in, light sage
Crochet hook, size F
Various laces, ribbons, and trims, as you would prefer
Silk roses for the skirt and at the collar
Buttons: not used here, but if preferred
Hot glue was used only to apply silk roses
Threads, Needles, Scissors

Starting at top of Blouse: With white baby yarn, chain 13.

Row 1: Sc in each ch across. Ch 1, turn.

Row 2: 2 sc in each st. (24 sc) Ch 1, turn.

Row 3: *Sc in first st, 2 sc in the next* for this row. (36 sc) Ch 1, turn.

Row 4: Sc in each st across. Ch 1, turn.

Row 5: Sc in 6 st, 2 sc in each of the next 6 st, sc in the next 12 st, 2 sc in each of the next 6 st, sc in the next 6 st. Ch 1, turn.

Row 6: Sc in 6 st, ch 5, sk 12 st, sc in next 12 st, ch 5, sk 12 st, sc in the last 6 st. Ch 1, turn.

Row 7: Sc in each st and ch across. (34 sc)

Row 8: In FLO, 2 sc in first st, sc in each st across, 2 sc in last st. (36 sc) Ch 1, turn.

*Note: You are now starting the skirt of your doll's dress.

Row 9: Back to working in BOTH loops again, ch 3 (counts as first st), dc in next st and in each remaining st across. Turn.

Row 10: Ch 3, 2 dc in first st, dc in next 2 st. *2 dc in next st, dc in next 2 st* across. (48 dc) Turn.

Row 11-13: Ch 3, dc in each st across. (48 dc) Turn.

Row 14: Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 2 st. *2 dc in next st, dc in next 2 st* across. (60 dc) Turn.

Row 15: Ch 3, dc in each st across. Fasten off, and weave in end.

Now holding dress upward and rightside facing yourself...

Attach white yarn to the 2nd st "under the arm", to start a sleeve.

Rnd 1: Ch 1, sc in first 4 st, hdc in the next st (where you can see here, you're starting the top ruffle of the shoulder area), 2dc in each of the next 10 st, hdc in the next st, sc in last st. Join round with a sl st to the first st.

Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in 5 st, hdc in next st, dc in each of the next 18 st, hdc in next st, sc in the last 2 st, sl st to join the round.

Rnd 3: Ch 1, sc in 6 st, hdc in next st, dc in next 16 st, hdc in next st, sc in last 3 st, sl st to join.

Rnd 4: Ch 1, sc in 4 st, hdc in next st, *dbl-cro dec over the next 2 st* 9 times, hdc in next st, sc in the last 3 st, sl st to join.

Rnd 5: Ch 1, *sc dec over next two st* around.

Rnd 6: Ch 1, sc in this first st, ch 4, sc in same st, *ch 4, sc in next st, ch 4, sc in same st* around; ending with a chain 4, then sl st to first st to join the round. Fasten off yarn, and weave in end. This completes your little ruffly-puffly sleeve of the dress! Proceed to do exactly the same for the second sleeve.

Collar: Attach white yarn to the first st of neckline. Repeat crochet edging exactly as you did for Rnd 6 of the sleeve (But do not join yet.) Fasten yarn, but leave a long enough yarn tail to now sew the back of the dress together.

*Note: You may choose to add snaps or buttons for this dress, for your own purposes and style of doll, but for the design and shape of this doll in particular, I felt it best to just sew the dress on permanently.

Skirt: (worked in 9 panels of green "leaves")
Ch 11, hdc in 3 ch from hook, and in next 8 chains. (Hdc, ch 1, hdc, ch 1, hdc) in next st. Now working down other side of chain, hdc in 9 st. Fasten off, weave in end.

With one long strand of green yarn, sew your panels of leaves together (from flat end to pointed end for only 9 st up. See photo.) to form the outer skirt of your doll's dress. Fasten any yarns and weave in ends.

Now, attach green yarn to either end of the long flat edge of the skirt, so to now start the waistband of the skirt. Ch 1, crochet 4 sc across the flat edge of the first leaf, then proceed to crochet 4 sc across each leaf for the remainder of this row. (36 sc) Ch 1. turn.

Row 2: Sc in each st across. Fasten yarn, leaving long enough yarn tail for sewing both short ends of green leaf petal skirt together. Sew skirt over and onto doll's dress, using the unused loops of stitches in Row 8 of dress, as a guideline for placement as you sew. Fasten off yarn(s) and weave in any ends.

Well, there you have it!! The basic pattern for this dress! From here, the fun of embellishing is all up to you! I got out all my lace, ribbons, trims, silk roses, and various color threads to add to my own design. For ideas to help you out though, I will tell you that I used a 5/8" ribbon, hand sewed that onto the top of the waist band with basic needle and thread, then tied and sewed a big, pretty bow at the back. I used lace and a fine floral trim to attach to the white bottom edge of the doll's dress. I sewed a very small length of 1/8" silk ribbon, made into a bow at the collar, and I used a total of 10 silk roses for the entire dress (one for each leaf of skirt, and one for the collar, each applied with hot glue). Enjoy!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dolled Up 4 Irish Coffee!

Why here I am! While I'm busy working on some St. Patrick's Day projects for THIS year, here are a couple of crochet dolls I did in years passed! The bigger laddie, done with crochet yo-yo's, stands about 12" tall, while the wee one sits at about 6" high. I have been wanting to do a new Irish doll of some kind, but have not yet had the time. I'm thinkin' on it a wee bit more now though; and it looks like I'll be makin' a new doll of some kind very soon!

Check out "Blithe and Blonde", for a blog event I couldn't resist signing up for! I do love my dollies, and this sounds like fun to me! Maybe you can join the fun, and sign up too! Then, on March 21st, maybe we can all get out our new dolls and have one big Tea Party in Blogland together!!

Today, I leave ya with this wee bit o' wisdom:
Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat!... Aye, that sure sounds good to me!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Somebody Pinch Me!... (for good measure!)

Well, I started my morning typically, and immediately, with a cup of coffee in my hand. I took it to my computer, where I then checked my email. Next, I most always go right to Annie's Free Pattern of the Day, and The Daily Crocheter, to see what are the newest and latest in new patterns and ideas in crochet!! Well, this morning, I remember my computer not coming up/loading up anything on the Daily Crocheter's page... I didn't really know why, and I remember thinking maybe it's too early, or my old computer just isn't working right now, and "Oh well, I'll try back again later to see what's on there." Sidetracked by the rest of the day's events, someone emailed me later to tell me I'd better take a look again, and I couldn't believe my eyes! MY pattern, for the measuring spoons bookmark, was the featured pattern for today, at The Daily Crocheter!! I am shocked; but I am also very grateful that they would feature my pattern! I feel flattered and very proud! It is always exciting, and a great deal of fun to hear from people who like it, and want to make one too! I've been a little "under the weather" lately, but this is just wonderful, and the timing couldn't have possibly been better! The weather here today was cold, yucky, messy, and depressing, but ya know?.. I hardly noticed, because despite that, it STILL definitely turned out to be a MUCH nicer day than I ever expected! I needed that!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mosaic Me!

Ellen, did some mosaic making at her "L.A. Is My Beat" blog, and I thought it looked like fun!

Well... (ahem)... It took a little LONGER to do than I would have liked, because 1) I can't follow DIRECTIONS!! Grr... and 2) The pictures I would pick out were not being offered for show by the owners anymore...

(Oh, come on!!!... You can't share a picture of JELLY BEANS any more?!! Whatever!!.. EDIT!!)

Anyways... I did like looking through all the beautifully creative photos, and coming up with a finished mosaic all my own! So Thanks Big Huge Labs, and to all the talented photographers who SHARED their work!!

Here's how you can do it too!!
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search. (Please, go to Advanced Search and choose Creative Commons images only. Otherwise you are stealing.)
b. Pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into this free mosaic maker

1. Favorite Food: Chocolate With A Hot Cup Of Coffee... Perfection!
2. Hometown: The Suburbs of The Great Northeast
3. Favorite Color: All of them... but we'll say PINK
4. Celebrity Crush: Johnny Depp.. Oh YES!!.. All THREE of HIMS!!
5. Favorite Drink: A Hot Coffee or An Ice Cold Beer
6. Dream Vacation: Ireland
7. Favorite Dessert: Hot Fudge Sundae
8. What I want to Be When I Grow Up: A Happy Mom together with my kids
9. Name: Tina
10. What/Who I Love Most in the World: My Kids!!
11. One Word Describes Me: Complex
12. Username: Beansie

Photo Credits/URLs: (oh please... those used, and those not sharing anymore)

Well, it's been quite a week, and I'm looking forward to the one ahead. Though Old Man Winter is not finished with all he has to say and do for the season, I'm sure, it's been nice to actually reach the high40-low50 degree temps recently! I'd like to see some MORE of that, if we could! I think today, I will relax with my crocheting and probably some reading. I'd like to watch a good movie with the kids, fully set up with a buffet of snacks and various goodies! Hmm, those happy cupcakes in my mosaic are looking very tempting! I may have to make some! Then, maybe we'll head up to our nearest video store to pick out something good! I hope my friends, family, and blogging visitors are ALL having a great weekend too!

Oh, and Happy National Crochet Month! I shall certainly give some thought to how I would like to commemorate and celebrate such recognition to our craft! (0: