Acorns

Acorns

We’re getting ready to switch the window display at the shop.  Taking down the “Halloween Window” this Friday and building up “Autumn.”

There will be a tree.  Lots of leaves.  Pumpkins.  And acorns.

I got real excited over the acorns & have been making them in my spare time all week.

I considered scavenging for wool sweaters to felt down and sew into acorns.  But decided I was in the mood to crochet instead.

To make the acorns, I used:

  • Bulky Wool Roving (in autumn colors)
  • Some worsted weight yarn for stitching (the roving is too soft & will pull apart)
  • Fiberfill
  • Crochet hook (I used a 6.5 mm hook)
  • Tapestry needle
  • Snips

The pattern to form the acorn is just my favorite crocheting-in-the-round that I use to make baskets, bowls & such.
Acorn Top:
  • Chain 2
  • Round 1 – Single crochet 6 into the chain further away from the hook.  Slip stitch the round closed.  Chain one.
  • Round 2 – Single crochet 2 times into each stitch from the previous round.  This means you increase one in each stitch.  You should finish with 12 stitches.  Slip stitch the round closed.  Chain one.
  • Round 3 – Single crochet around, increasing by 1 every second stitch.  You should finish with 18 stitches.  Slip stitch the round closed.  Chain 1.
  • Round 4 – Single crochet around, increasing by 1 every third stitch.  You should finish with 24 stitches.  Slip stitch the round closed.
  • Bind off & weave loose yarn ends in.

Acorn body (using a contrasting color):

  • Chain 2
  • Round 1 – Single crochet 6 into the chain further away from the hook.  Slip stitch the round closed.  Chain one.
  • Round 2 – Single crochet 2 times into each stitch from the previous round.  This means you increase one in each stitch.  You should finish with 12 stitches.  Slip stitch the round closed.  Chain one.
  • Round 3 – Single crochet around.  Keep at 12 stitches.  Slip stitch the round closed.  Chain one.
  • Round 4 –  Single crochet around, increasing by 1 every second stitch.  You should finish with 18 stitches.  Slip stitch the round closed.  Chain 1.
  • Round 5 – Single crochet around.  Keep at 18 stitches.  Slip stitch the round closed.  Chain one.
  • Round 6 – Optional – repeat round 5 if you want your acorn body a little longer.  Otherwise, skip to round 7.
  • Round 7  – Single crochet around, decreasing by 1 stitch every third stitch.  You should finish with 12 stitches.  Slip stitch the round closed.
  •  Bind off.  Weave in loose yarn ends.

Stuff acorn body.  Use fiberfill, yarn ends or even chopped up felt scraps as filler (reuse, reuse, recycle!) .

I used a brown worsted weight yarn to create a loop at the top of the acorn.  Finally, I stitched acorn top to acorn body.

And there you have it.  A hearty, warm, cheerful acorn.  I love the heftiness of this piece.  We’ll be hanging them in the shop window this Friday.  Come on by & take a look next week!

An Apple Hour

An Apple Hour

I tend to think of myself as a city-kind-of-girl.  I’ve lived in NYC for the past 18 years.  San Francisco before that.  Most of the time, I disregard my first 18 years spent growing up in a tiny little town in Idaho.  But every now and again, I miss the “country.”  Especially during apple picking season.

When I was a kid, my dad planted fruit trees around the perimeter of our back yard.  Plums.  Apricots.  Cherries.  Pears.  Apples.  When each fruit ripened, we had only to step outside our house to harvest whatever we were in the mood to eat.  Dadio dedicated a tree to each person in the family.  My special tree was the Granny Smith tree all the way in the corner of the lot.  I loved eating those super tart green apples – fresh off the tree, baked into apple cake or cooked down to applesauce.

All these years later, on the other side of the country, the smell of freshly harvested apples at the Green Market still reminds me of walking home from school, cutting through my back yard, plucking an apple off “my” tree and chomping down as I headed inside to do homework.  Good memories.

Last week, I surfaced from my total immersion of learning how to be a small business owner only to realize I was missing my beloved apple season.  When my guys heard me trying to rearrange my schedule to fit in a trip to the green market, they suggested we spend my one day off during the week to go apple picking.  Love my marvelous family!

Wish I could say we spent a whole day enjoying the beautiful fall weather yesterday. 

Unfortunately, this whole small business owner “thing” means long to-do lists even on that one day off. 

But I am  thrilled over the hour (and change) my family & I actually spent out in the apple orchards.  What an amazing feeling – the sun on my face, my kids excitedly pointing out the different apple choices, looking for the perfect round, ripe apple before twisting it gently off the tree.  Oh yes, and my awesome husband schlepping the 35 pounds of apples we so gleefully harvested.  What a wonderful, peaceful apple hour.

The Son of Neptune

The Son of Neptune

Today is the 503rd consecutive day of our reading streak!  I’m really proud of that number; and glad that we sticking to our reading promise even in the midst of the boys getting ever busier and my becoming a small business owner (often crazy overwhelming – but I won’t get into that today).

We are still working our way through Rick Riordan’s The Heroes of Olympus series.  In this second book, “The Son of Neptune,” we are reunited with Percy Jackson as he sets off on a quest with Roman demigods Frank & Hazel.  It’s a fun book.  But I must admit to being partial to the three demigods from “The Lost Hero” (Jason, Piper & Leo).  I’m looking forward to book three when all the heroes join forces.

We continue to read every morning from 7:15 to 7:45.  It can feel a little rushed some mornings, but I prefer reading aloud when I’m fresh instead of at the end of a long, tiring day.  Not to mention the boys are now allowed an hour of electronics in the evenings.  Much as they love having me read aloud to them, I am sad to say, TV, PS3 and iPad beat read aloud every time.  Sigh.  Shrug.  At least we’re still reading, right?

Halloween Window

Halloween Window

Here is one very cool experience about having the shop

When my friend says, “You know, I’ve always wanted to design displays for store windows…”

I can look at her & say, “Great.  What do you have in mind?  Let’s do it!”

A few days later, I close the store for the evening and break out my felt supply.

She brings a bottle of wine…

…And her guy.  We assign him the jobs of installing the crocheted web in the window (no small job) and cutting felt.

We spend the evening cracking stupid jokes, drinking wine, listening to French Cafe Radio on Pandora and creating a Halloween window display that has all three of us chuckling with delight.

A little cutting.  A little crochet.  Sewing the pumpkins and bat shapes together lickety-split on the machine.  And then hand stitching their finishes on.  All the while enjoying the company of friends.

Good fun all around & a super cute Halloween display in the window.  Come on by to take a look!

Felted Gumdrop Pincushions

Felted Gumdrop Pincushions

The official name for these guys is “Felted Gumdrop Pincushions” – one of the pop-up products for sale at my freshly opened shop.

But I actually think of these as my “Insomnia Pincushions” …which is probably saying way too much about my state of mind these past months as I struggled (and continue to strive) to learn what it takes to be a small business owner.

The great thing about needle felting is that it really just takes patience to stab and stab and stab that needle into the roving to sculpt whatever it is you want to make.  And when you’re hit with night after night of insomnia, the repetitive motions of needle felting can be amazingly soothing and meditative.

The downside would be the pain when you’re careless and stab yourself with the incredibly sharp needle.

Still, it’s very cool to watch a bit of fluff turn into beads, little animal guys… or…

…In my case, a whole platter full of gumdrop shaped pin cushions.