11.28.2012

The Story of the Christmas Pickle

You may or may not know about the Christmas tradition of hiding a pickle in your Christmas tree. I didn't until a few years ago when my sister enlightened me of this cherished, if not odd, winter custom. Many believe the Christmas Pickle to be of German origin while others say its roots are unknown, but this could not be further from the truth. You see, my friends, I have been on a quest - a quest for knowledge, much like Indiana Jones. I fear I cannot name my sources but gather 'round as I relate the greatest story ever told. 

It all began many years ago on New Year's Eve. Friends were celebrating, the champagne was flowing, and hors d'oeuvres were being scarfed by the handful. The most popular treat of the time were gherkins. 
Gherkin after gherkin was devoured until only one remained.
 This last, lonely gherkin didn't get eaten that New Years Eve. In fact, he was completely forgotten about for days. Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. The last gherkin was covered and obscured from view by lousy leftovers and forgotten fare. For almost a year, the last gherkin lived in his jar alone. It wasn't until the next Christmas that the jar of gherkins was sought out once more. 
But something had happened. The last gherkin was a gherkin no more. He was a full blown pickle. And as soon as his jar was retrieved from the depths of the fridge and his lid was unscrewed, the pickle bolted! 
Blinking in the bright light of day, the pickle immediately scoped out a place to hide. No one was going to eat him! Not after he had survived so long on his own in that lonely corner of the fridge. His only company was a grape that had escaped from its plastic bag. But the grape hadn't lasted long. He shriveled and wasted away into raisinhood within days. Pickle was a fighter. He quietly slinked about looking for somewhere to hide.
First he crouched as low as he could in a tea cup. 
But he was too tall. Next he tried to hide in an oven mitt.
But he was too big and green. Then he ducked behind some salt and pepper shakers.
But he stuck out like a sore thumb.
There had to be somewhere in this place he could blend in. He needed something big and green.
Then he saw it. 
The Christmas tree! Of course! He made a wild, mad dash for the tree and nestled himself deep among the inner needles. He had made it! He would not be eaten. He was a free pickle!
And so every year, we hide a pickle in the tree to honor all the gherkins who were never given the chance to become full blown pickles. 

And so, dear readers, consider yourselves enlightened. You're welcome.
And crochet yourself your very own Christmas Pickle this year like the one I made, using the following free pickle pattern from Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches. Yes, it looks a bit like poo but if you add a face and a bow it will be okay. Just like it was for the Christmas Pickle.

11.18.2012

Tiny Boxes

    Sometimes I wish I was more social or had more 'normal' interests (whatever that is). But then those thoughts quickly pass and I make something completely useless like miniature gift boxes to put under the knitted Charlie Brown Christmas Tree I made last week. Why is it that being tiny instantly makes something cute? I think it would be awesome to have a long-term miniature project like a whole hand-made house filled with hand-made miniature furniture and decorations. It would probably never really be finished. Learning tiny woodworking and painting tiny paintings would be so much fun! Someday I'll do it.
   I made the patterns for these boxes in a free trial of Adobe Illustrator. There are two gingham patterns and two knit print patterns. I'm afraid to look to see how much Illustrator costs, but I think I have to have it. If you would be interested in making some of these yourself, I've made a PDF of the tiny boxes and you can find the knitting pattern on Ravelry. Oh, and there's no tape or glue necessary for the boxes! 

11.13.2012

An oven for my Muffin

I've had this crochet cat nest pattern, by Eilen Tein pinned for ages now. There it sat on my crafts board, taunting me. "If only I had a cat," I'd sigh as I gazed longingly at the pictures of her adorable kitty. Ok, maybe I'm being a little melodramatic. But now that I finally have an adorable kitty of my own I'm spoiling her with toys, love, and quite of bit of my own blood (she can get a bit vicious). 
I made this cat oven (get it? 'cause she's a muffin?) using one and a half skeins of Wool Ease Thick 'n' Quick, so you just know it hooked up in no time (about 4 hours really). And Muffin loves it! So far she likes chasing her tail in it, rolling around on the bed. 

11.10.2012

Kitty Quilt

Last year (almost to the day) Merrilee of Mer Mag shared her design of the most adorable quilt ever made. I knew instantly that I needed one. Who wouldn't want 63 black quilted cats keeping them warm at night? Luckily I also love teaching myself new things because I didn't know the first thing about how to make a quilt! I learned a lot over the last year making this monster: don't be lazy - iron everything, a cutting mat and rotary cutter are my best friends, when figuring out how much fabric you need do the math twice and then just buy more anyway. 
I had the top of the quilt finished in about a month, but then I was stuck on what color to use for the back. I finally settled on this mustard yellow and got that done in another week. I had done all but the binding because, honestly, I was scared of that part. It sat in my closet all summer. Yesterday I decided to go for it and it wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be! It was actually pretty fun! 
So here's another item crossed off my bucket list. Hooray for kitty quilts! Oh, and I got a kitty! Say hello to Muffin in the last picture! She's not too happy about all these new kitties on the bed.

11.05.2012

Free Crochet Pattern: Amigurumi Holiday Lights

I've known ever since Spring that I was going to be making some cute amigurumi christmas lights this season. However when I went to find an actual pattern, I found that they were either too big, the wrong shape bulb, or not free (cheapskate!). So I made my own! And I'm offering it to you for free!

I love the look of traditional Christmas lights. I really hope the world gets over this only wanting boring white lights business. It's all about color! And cute, little faces on everything.

Grab the pattern on Craftsy or Ravelry
And I'd love to see how yours turn out on Ravelry!