Winter Celebration Blythe Swap

In November, we did a Winter Celebration theme for the Blythe Swap Group, and sent our packages by the first of December. I’ve now received mine, as has my partner, so I’m excited to share!

My partner sent me a terrific package! It’s so many lovely things that she clearly picked out or made just for me – perfectly tailored to my taste.

And I made her a bunch of things – as usual I got carried away since I loved her desired color palette so much and made a ton of things. She had mentioned on her blog that one of her favorite colors right now is mustard yellow, and that was all the inspiration I needed!

There are more photos of both what I received and sent on Flickr.


review: Build a Better Vegetable Garden

Build a Better Vegetable Garden

Build a Better Vegetable Garden: 30 DIY projects to improve your harvest by Joyce Russell, photography by Ben Russell

As I’ve mentioned, my raised bed veg garden has not been my garden priority the last couple of years. I’ve just not been paying as much attention to it, part of the reason is that the trees nearby it have grown and are now shading it more than desired part of the day. I really need to relocate it next summer (although I’m also toying with the idea of trying to grow veggies in among the ornamental plants throughout the garden – I have a feeling that critters will eat more than I will with this approach, though). This book has 30 projects for growing veggies in the garden, ranging from plant supports to planter boxes and raised beds, to tool containers and organizers. Each project is rated for difficulty and includes a complete list of required materials and tools. A series of in-process photos are also shown, though not every step is fully illustrated, so some ability to interpret instructions without a visual is required. Ideas for using each item are also given, such as tips for growing particular crops on a plant support. Several of these have me dreaming about the future – I look forward to the day when our trees bear enough fruit to require the apple storage trays!

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Van Buren District Library via the MeLCat interlibrary loan system


Hip Hepzibah

Hepzibah Hat for Blythe by AnneArchy

It’s another hat! This time named for Hepzibah Smith, who was a Hufflepuff (yay!) but allowed herself to be charmed by Tom Riddle (boo!). It’s got a rib pattern going from brim to crown, and you can add a bobble or not, depending on your taste.

Hop over to Ravelry, Etsy, Craftsy, and LoveKnitting to pick up this hat.


review: Go Big, Go Bold

Go Big, Go Bold

Go Big, Go Bold: Large-scale modern quilts by Barbara Cain

Modern quilt – it’s a term that can be defined in a number of ways, but probably falls into the ‘I know it when I see it’ category. One common feature is the use of large blocks, larger than you’d commonly see in many traditional quilt styles, anyway. That’s the basis of these ten quilt designs, each of which includes a list of materials, a cutting list, directions for making templates, fabric recommendations, step-by-step piecing instructions, and palette suggestions.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the East Lansing Public Library via the MeLCat interlibrary loan system


New! It’s Nymphadora for Blythe!

Nymphadora Hat for Blythe

Sometimes you want a relatively simple hat that just fits really well. This is that hat for Blythe! It’s a good fit, but not a tight one – it works really well for traveling because it keeps Blythe’s hair in place without leaving hat head when you take it off. It’s also stylish and ready for winter activities!

Etsy, Ravelry, Craftsy, and LoveKnitting.


December free pattern!

Merope Scarf

Another month, another free pattern! This is another one of my favorites for working while I’m doing other things. It’s a snap to memorize and you can freely watch media without missing the subtitles, pay attention to a speaker, or interact with other humans if that’s your thing.

find the Merope Scarf pattern for free on Ravelry, Craftsy, and LoveKnitting


review: The Flower Book

The Flower Book

The Flower Book: Let the beauty of each bloom speak for itself – natural flower arrangements for your home

Fans of flowers will be delighted with the full color photos in this large book. Step by step instructions are provided for creating professional-looking cut flower arrangements and bouquets. Recommended specific flowers are profiled, including a wealth of information in addition to a huge close-up color photo. These flowers are listed individually and then several are used to create a mixed-flower arrangement. Even as someone who appreciates flowers almost exclusively where they grow in the garden, there is a ton of inspiration here – from which flowers might look good together to the facts about the plants themselves.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Grand Rapids Public Library via the MeLCat interlibrary loan system


Marvelous Millicent

Millicent Hat

Looking for a cute cat hat for cosplay or everyday? Here you go! (Could also be a different animal if you wish!) Knit with worsted weight yarn, this hat is quick to knit and the ears are picked up, so there’s no seaming! It’s easy and you could make one in each of your favorite colors. Pattern includes three adult sizes, the smallest of which will work for many kids and most teens.

Slink over to Ravelry, LoveKnitting, Etsy, and Craftsy to get your paws on this pattern.


review: Quilted Celebrations

Quilted Celebrations

Quilted Celebrations: 18 Designs to Capture Life’s Milestones with Needle and Thread by Amanda Murphy

There’s virtually no limit to the number of occasions on which you could gift a quilt. Murphy includes ten designs for new baby, birthdays, religious rites, graduation, wedding, anniversary, and commemorating a life here. She also includes ideas for personalizing the quilt to the specific recipient. These ten projects utilize a variety of quilt blocking techniques, and could easily be adapted to suit another occasion or no occasion at all. Templates are included.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the East Lansing Public Library via the MeLCat interlibrary loan system


review: Colour Confident Stitching

Colour Confident Stitching

Colour Confident Stitching: How to create beautiful colour palettes by Karen Barbé

Color is such a big part of so many creative projects. Barbé starts out with a primer on color theory, so even if you haven’t studied art, you’ll have the basics. She then moves into using color in the world as inspiration and how to capture the colors you have seen elsewhere in the materials you’ll use to make. Finally, she offers five projects with instructions so you can make them yourself and see the concepts from the book illustrated. DMC color numbers are listed for the sample palettes included.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Baldwin Public Library via the MeLCat interlibrary loan system