Letting go of Perfect

Seems like the years have just been speeding up more as I accumulate a larger number of them. This coming January my oldest will be officially a teen-ager. In summer of this coming year my husband and I will have been together 20 years, 18 of them married.

And now Christmas is less than 10 days away.

Every year I think, I will be more prepared for the Holiday season. I will have my cards all ready to pop into the mail the day after Thanksgiving. Or at least by December 1st.  After all this time I think I need to admit, at least to myself, that just isn’t going to happen.

Instead, I get to be human. Sometimes I pull things together rather miraculously and I’m as surprised as anyone else. Other times I’m lucky if my personal goals are even 1/3 finished by the deadlines I’m working with.

Instead of being “perfect” like part of me still wants, I’ve decided being “realistic” is a far happier goal to shoot for.

Little Christmas Wreath - M2H Designs
Little Christmas Wreath – M2H Designs

Oftentimes this means constantly re-evaluating what I can make happen and how much time I actually have to work on projects. Whether those are projects for my work as a designer/writer/teacher/artist or as a mother/wife/household manager.

In interest of that I’m taking the rest of 2015 off from the blog and will be on the rest of my social media quite a bit less. I wish all my lovely readers a very Happy Holiday Season and I’ll be back on January 1st, 2016.

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A Lovely Lacy Snowflake

Snow is a reality where I live, sometimes I love it, other days it makes me cross to deal with it. But no matter what, I always find freshly fallen snow to be beautiful.  Crocheted snowflakes are one of my very favorite Christmas decorations (and my favorite way to enjoy snow).

There are many ways to incorporate snowflakes into your holiday themed projects. They are great for using as embellishments on cards or gifts and you can stiffen them with a glue solution to hang them on your tree or in the window as ornaments. Sprinkle some glitter over them before the glue dries, to add a little sparkle.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links.

As my holiday gift to all my lovely readers here is my newest snowflake pattern. For those of you that prefer stitch charts to work from, or just want a nice PDF of the pattern, this pattern is available in my Ravelry Shop.

Lacy Snowflakes M2H Designs

LACY SNOWFLAKES

designed by Andee Graves/M2H Designs

SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate

 

FINISHED SIZE: 4″ (10cm) diameter at widest point

THREAD: Red Heart Aunt Lydia’s Size #10 Crochet Cotton, (100% Cotton) white

CROCHET HOOK: US Steel #2 (1.5 mm) or size needed to obtain gauge.

GAUGE: First 4 rounds = 2” in diameter at widest point

 

FINISHED SIZE: 5 1/8″ (13cm) diameter at widest point

THREAD: Red Heart Aunt Lydia’s Size #3 Crochet Cotton, (100% Cotton) blue

CROCHET HOOK: US B (2.5 mm) or size needed to obtain gauge.

GAUGE: First 4 rounds = 2 3/4” in diameter at widest point

 

ADDITIONAL MATERIALS: Yarn needle, Stitch markers 

SPECIAL STITCHES

Open Shell (Shl): (dc, ch 2, dc, ch 3, dc, ch 2, dc) in indicated st or sp.

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Start with an adjustable slip knot. Click here to see my video on this technique.

Rnd 1: Ch 6, (dc, ch 2) 5 times in 6th ch from hook, sl st to 3rd ch of beginning ch-6.

Rnd 2: Turn (Sl st, ch 1, sc) in next ch-2 sp, (ch 4, sk next st, sc in next ch-2 sp) 5 times, ch 4, sl st to first sc of round.

Rnd 3: Ch 1, [(3 sc, ch 3, 3 sc) in next ch-4 sp] 6 times, sl st to first sc of round.

Rnd 4: Sl st in next 2 scs, sl st in next ch-3 sp, ch 5, (dc, ch 3, dc, ch 2, dc) in next ch-3 sp, (ch 2, Shl in next ch-3 sp) 5 times, ch 2, sl st in 3rd ch of beginning ch 5.

Rnd 5: Ch 1, turn, (sc in next ch-2 sp, ch 2, sk 4 sts, Shl in next ch-3 sp, ch 2, sk 4 sts) 6 times, sl st to first sc of round.

Rnd 6: Ch 5, turn, (*sk 3 sts, sc in next ch-2 sp, ch 2, sk next st, Shl in next ch-3 sp, ch 2, sk next st, sc in next ch-2 sp, ch 2, sk 3 sts,* dc in next sc, ch 2) 5 times; Repeat from * to * once, sl st in 3rd ch of beg ch-5.

Rnd 7: Ch 1, 2 sc next ch-2 sp, [*(sk next st, 3 sc in next ch-2 sp) twice, sk next st, (2 sc, ch 3, 2 sc) in next ch-3 sp, (sk next st, 3 sc in next ch-2 sp) twice,* (sk next st, 2 sc in next ch-2 sp) twice] 5 times, Repeat from * to * once, 2 sc next ch-2 sp, sl st to first sc of round.

 

FINISHING

Weave in all ends. If you want to stiffen your snowflakes for hanging ornaments the Stiffy Mod Podge product shown below is what I use.

If you can’t find it locally you can purchase it on Amazon. Click on the photo below to go right to Amazon.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links.

Less than 3 weeks til Christmas!

So much to be done and time is getting short. All those grand plans you had for crocheting up the perfect gift for family and friends are now down to the wire.  For those of you looking for a quick crochet gift project, I and a few of my fellow designer/blogger friends have some suggestions for you.

Hurry Up Holiday Cowl by Tamara Kelly/Moogly
Hurry Up Holiday Cowl
by Tamara Kelly/Moogly

From the lovely Tamara Kelly over at Moogly the first pattern of her 2015 Moogly Holiday Mini CAL is available. Make this chunky cowl with one skein of Lion Brand Yarn Hometown USA… in less than an hour! Video tutorials included!

Sparkly Jar Cover
Sparkly Jar Cover

Tamara also pulled together a gift giving guide on the Lion Brand Blog (including my Sparkly Jar Cover).

Center
Coraline in Morocco Cowl by Simply Collectible Crochet

From Celina of Simply Collectible Crochet here is a list of some quick crochet projects that would make great gifts. I especially love her “Coraline in Morocco Cowl”. Make it in festive colors or a sparkly yarn and you have a lovely quick gift to brighten someone’s holiday. This would be a really great project for one of those lone balls of beautiful yarn that has been sitting in your stash for a couple of years un-loved.

Lorraine-Free-Crochet-Ear-Warmer-Pattern-Blue-Green
Lorraine-Free-Crochet-Ear-Warmer-Pattern-Blue-Green

From Jessie of Jessie-At-Home is her Last Minute Gift pattern Round-up from 2014. My favorite in this Round-up is the pattern for the “Lorraine” a wonderful wide ear warmer that buttons in the back. I especially like the version Jessie made with a big bold crocheted flower on it.

Peppermint Kisses Beanie - Kathy Lashley/ELK Studio
Peppermint Kisses Beanie – Kathy Lashley/ELK Studio

From Kathy of ELK Studio is the gorgeous “Peppermint Kisses” beanie. This pattern gives you 2 different band styles to choose from as well.  I could see this hat worked in any combination of colors. You could even work it in your giftee’s school colors.

Smidgen Cozy - M2H Designs
Smidgen Cozy – M2H Designs

One of my favorite recent designs for a quick crochet gift is my “Smidgen Cozy”. This project is quick to make because you are working with a large hook and very bulky yarn. All you need is yarn, hook, a pretty button and an evening to crochet up this cozy gift.

A lot of my patterns available for purchase thru my Ravelry Shop also work up quickly for gift giving.

Little Christmas Wreath - M2H Designs
Little Christmas Wreath – M2H Designs

One of my favorites to use as a Christmas brooch is my “Little Christmas Wreath”.  You can work it up in any yarns you have available, just use the appropriate size hook to fit your yarn. The little wreaths can also be embellished with beads to make them even more festive.

Twisted Vs Cowl - M2H Designs
Twisted Vs Cowl – M2H Designs

Another quick project is my “Twisted Vs Cowl”. This project again takes advantage of bulky yarn and a big hook, as well as an open stitch pattern, to speed you to completion of another gift.

Anna Moebius Cowl - M2H Designs
Anna Moebius Cowl – M2H Designs

My all-time favorite crochet gift project for my female friends and relatives though is my “Anna Moebius Cowl”.  I can complete one of these cowls in approximately 3 hours.  I especially like to use yarns with long color changes as the stitch pattern shows them off spectacularly.

Hopefully one or more of the patterns you can find thru these links will be just what you need for your gift-making projects. Remember to be gentle with yourself and take lots of breaks while you are stitching away on those last-minute gifts.

 

Let It Snow

Snowy Front yard ThanksgivingAh yes, winter has made itself known here on the mountain. No matter that the calendar says that it’s still Fall until December 20th.

Warm Fire

Our Thanksgiving holiday was a very snowy one. Fortunately we hadn’t planned to go anywhere, so we enjoyed the snow with a lovely warm fire in the wood stove and lots of good food on the table.

Yoda

We watched the first 3 Star Wars movies (which are called Episodes 4, 5 and 6…yes I know it’s confusing). I finished crocheting my Yoda amigurumi from the kit I showed you. That is one Christmas present done for the boys, but quite a few things remaining.

Light as Lace Snowflake - M2H Designs
Light as Lace Snowflake – M2H Designs

With less than a month to Christmas-time I started working on a new snowflake motif.  Hopefully I’ll have the pattern ready to share with all of you in the next week. Though the way this year has gone by so swiftly I’m not 100 percent sure I can pull it off. Edited 12/10/2015: The pattern for this snowflake is now available for free here on the blog. Lacy Snowflake

Meanwhile if you are looking for some quick crochet projects for your holiday gift-giving you might want to take a look at some of my patterns on my Ravelry Designer Page.