An Artfully Simple Tidal Wave

Goodness, it’s been a while. Since I last talked to you guys I have gained a new writing job and a new crochet design job. I can tell you about the second one in a couple of months, but suffice it to say I’m a little bit excited. I tend to favor the “squeal and jump” variety of expressing my excitement, so you’ll just have to imagine me doing that now…

IMG_5097

Today I’m sharing some photos of a scarf I made two years ago, and for whatever reason, never got around to posting. At the end of my French 200 series, I wanted to make a gift for my professor, after spending three classes with her. (In the term system, there are three classes in a series, so French 201, 202, and 203.) She was a really classy lady, always dressed nicely even at 9 AM on a Monday morning, so I tried to make something that would live up to her style.

IMG_5098

This is made with the Artfully Simple Infinity Scarf pattern from Moogly, which  have loved for years. As the name implies, it’s really simple but gorgeous. I love the diagonal lines and how it highlights the long color changes in this yarn. It was an absolute delight to make.

IMG_5100

And I love the button detail in the pattern, because who doesn’t want to incorporate a cool button into something? My mom lets me swipe stuff from her button stash, which is probably where I dug up this one.

The great thing about making a scarf for somebody else is that you can use yarn that you wouldn’t wear yourself. I got a nicer skein of yarn than I usually use. I think it was Red Heart Unforgettable in Tidal. This yarn is just a little bit too itchy for me to wear myself, but I’m super sensitive. It’s always good to check if your recipient has fiber allergies, but I didn’t have that opportunity with my teacher, so I just hoped for the best. This yarn is still 100% acrylic, though, so it’s a pretty safe bet.

IMG_5099 (1)

I just love how this fabric looks! My professor loved it and said it would be great for traveling. I hope she’s had a good couple years. It’s so weird that I’m in fourth-year French now. And I’m actually the French tutor at my college. Weird, I tell you, just weird.

Tell me how your November has been going! Thanks for reading, and hope you have a lovely weekend.

Sophie’s Pink Universe, Part 2

I realized I never continued the saga of the pink Sophie’s Universe square. It was supposed to be an afghan for Maisie, but I kinda got carried away making squares and it turned out too big for her.

Much larger than I anticipated! Arranging squares is always tricky. My mom helped me with this. She’s made a lot of afghans herself and is a pro at making sure colors are distributed equally.

Here’s maisie test driving the square. She’s not so happy that this blanket isn’t for her I guess. 😉

Anyway, it was time to join all the squares, which is both exciting and extremely obnoxious.

I went with a single crochet through back loops only. Some of the yarn is pretty splitty , which made it tricky, but this gave the result I was after.

Pile of squares waiting to be joined.

I had to carry them downstairs somehow, and my mom and I giggled over how this looks like a dumpling or something.

I just figured out how to post from my phone, so this is a trial run. Yes, I’ve been blogging since 2013 and I only just figured out the app. Anyway, I’ll conclude the Sophie’s Universe adventure soon. Thanks so much for your kind words on the dinosaur pencil case!

Dorks Have More Fun

I’m a senior in college. I have a part-time job and two paid blogging gigs. I wake up at EIGHT O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING (which was unthinkable to my younger self). It would seem that I know how to Adult, right? In some ways, I guess so. But in other ways…not so much. See, I decided to make myself a new pencil case in honor of my senior year, and this is the result…

IMG_5028

PURPLE DINOSAUR YESSSSS.

Yeah, I’m not a fan of this whole “adults don’t have stuffed animals” business, so I’m starting a rebellion. Care to join me?

I saw a pencil case similar to this in a store, but part of this whole “adulting” thing is trying not to buy as many plush things, so I had to leave it behind. But obviously the idea would not leave my mind, so after a couple weeks’ design struggle this was the result.

Screen Shot 2019-09-23 at 11.02.36 AM

I got to mess around with a zipper, which was both fun and stressful. Sewing is not my strong suit. I can sew on a button with confidence, but zippers onto a rounded crochet thing? Yikes. Still, it has held up so far. I’m bringing it to college for the first time today, so we’ll see. My plush Pusheen pencil case has been well-received.

Here’s a secret: most college students are 100% on board with the cute stuffed-animal thing. They’re just afraid to admit it. So if you lead the way with being unashamedly pro-cute, everybody else will appreciate it!

IMG_5030

And the free pattern is available on Crochet Spot should you wish to create your own little dinosaur companion 😉

What should I name it? It doesn’t feel right having this little guy without a name! Please leave your suggestions in the comments and I shall be eternally grateful!

A Year of Cow Pigeon

Today is a very special day.

Today marks the 1-year anniversary of my first sighting of Cow Pigeon.

Screen Shot 2019-05-12 at 11.42.16 AM

(Don’t know who Cow Pigeon is? Click here.)

Screen Shot 2019-05-31 at 8.10.10 PM

I learned about this bird about a year and a half ago, but I didn’t see him myself until September 25, 2018. And boy was that an exciting day.

IMG_3636

Since then, I have seen Cow Pigeon 25 times, and have even written a blog post for my university about him. They actually featured me on the university Facebook page for my post about CP, which was delightful, an honor, and exactly how I want to be known.

Screen Shot 2019-05-12 at 11.42.32 AM

So here’s to Cow Pigeon. For helping remind me to keep my eyes open, because you never know when a spotted pigeon can wander into your life and change the way you look at the world.

Screen Shot 2019-05-31 at 6.24.12 PM

Here’s to Cow Pigeon, for helping me get excited over the little things in life.

Screen Shot 2019-05-12 at 11.42.06 AM

Here’s to Cow Pigeon, for helping me connect with complete strangers when I answer their questions about the mysterious bird we’re both gawking at.

Screen Shot 2019-05-12 at 11.42.24 AM

Here’s to Cow Pigeon, for helping me be less self-conscious. I don’t care if people give me weird looks when I get excited about seeing CP. I’m just happy to see my friend!

IMG_3805

Here’s to Cow Pigeon, for making me feel like a National Geographic wildlife photographer when I spend an hour following him around to get pictures like this. (Thank you, iPhone “burst” feature.)

Screen Shot 2019-05-12 at 11.41.56 AM

And most of all, here’s to Cow Pigeon for making the world more beautiful.

Crochet Carrot Cupcake

I have a whole lot of photos on my computer of projects that I haven’t blogged about. So this is an attempt to remedy that!

Last year my friend had a birthday and I wanted to crochet him a cupcake. I discovered, through some not-so-subtle questioning, that carrot cake is his favorite. So I used my favorite cupcake pattern from Ana Paula Rimoli’s book Amigurumi World, and this is what happened.

IMG_0774

These cupcakes are so fun to make and they don’t take very long. My only modification is to make the last round of the frosting in the front loops only. That leaves a ridge that makes it easier to sew the frosting and cake together.

Before I sewed the frosting on, though, I sewed on sprinkles!

IMG_0775

And a carrot. 🙂 This is obviously not what carrot cake is…you don’t just make a cake and slap a carrot on top. But you gotta have that visual pun, right?

Anyway, my friend was pretty happy with the cupcake. I think this was his first crochet gift, but as long as he’s friends with me, it will not be the last. 🙂

Itty Bitty Shoes for Mini Free Spirit

Hey guys! Today I have a quick pattern for how to make shoes for the Mini Free Spirit. You’ll probably remember this doll from all the fandom dolls I make. Well, these characters needed shoes, so this is what I came up with.

These are so cute and tiny and VERY easy to lose, haha. If the dolls are for playing with, it might be best to avoid the shoes. But since these ones were for display, the shoes were appropriate. (I wonder how many Barbie shoes my sister and I have lost over the years…)

IMG_3966

Materials

  • G hook
  • 2 yards of worsted weight yarn

Pattern

Round 1: Ch 4. Hdc in 2nd chain from hook. Hdc in next chain. 5 dc in last chain. Turn to work across other side of starting chain, hdc in next ch, 2 dc in last ch. Sl st to first sc.

Round 2: Ch 1, sc in back loops only around. Sl st to first sc.

Round 3: Ch 1, sc 2, (sc2tog) 3 times, sc in remaining stitches. Do not join.

Fasten off, leaving long enough tail so that you can sew that gap together neatly. It’s easiest to slide the shoe onto the doll BEFORE you attempt this. Ask me how I know. Then weave in ends and you’re done! Tip: Crochet over the starting tail as you go to save trying to weave in two ends on this tiny shoe.

Plotting a new book is perhaps one of the greatest joys in my life. Plotting, outlining, and the early drafts of a new story tend to be my favorite part of the process (even if I do want to burn said outlines and drafts once it’s over.) One of the things that inspire me the […]

via indie and aspiring authors share their WIP’s (pt.1) — lydiaredwine.com

I seldom reblog posts, but I wanted to share this one with you! The lovely Lydia Redwine rounded up some aspiring and indie authors to share their works-in-progress, and I’m honored to be one of them. Click the above link to check out the post and read about my book How to Breathe in Space. And check back for the second part! Thank you so much, Lydia, for including me in this fantastic roundup. ^__^

Queer Girls, Dragons, and Rescue Missions | Shatter the Sky Book Review

YOU GUYS. I have been waiting (im)patiently to post this book review, because it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time! But I wanted to wait until release day, which was on Tuesday. Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells is a must for anyone who likes fantasy, strong female characters, and LGBTQ+ representation.

Also, I’m borrowing an idea from Lydia of Noveltea for this review. She includes a section in all of her book reviews for why she chose the book, and I thought that was a really good idea, so I’m adopting it myself.

38465005._sy475_

About the Book

Raised among the ruins of a conquered mountain nation, Maren dreams only of sharing a quiet life with her girlfriend Kaia—until the day Kaia is abducted by the Aurati, prophetic agents of the emperor, and forced to join their ranks. Desperate to save her, Maren hatches a plan to steal one of the emperor’s coveted dragons and storm the Aurati stronghold.

If Maren is to have any hope of succeeding, she must become an apprentice to the Aromatory—the emperor’s mysterious dragon trainer. But Maren is unprepared for the dangerous secrets she uncovers: rumors of a lost prince, a brewing rebellion, and a prophecy that threatens to shatter the empire itself. Not to mention the strange dreams she’s been having about a beast deep underground…

With time running out, can Maren survive long enough to rescue Kaia from impending death? Or could it be that Maren is destined for something greater than she could have ever imagined?

  • Goodreads | Amazon | 304 pages (I think my review copy was longer, but maybe the font changed?)
  • Release date July 30, 2019
  • I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I Chose This Book

I basically lost my composure when I saw the mention of a girl stealing a dragon to rescue her girlfriend. UM, SIGN ME UP, PLEASE. I put in that review request faster than you can say “Claire, I think you’re a little too obsessed with dragons,” and then I jumped through the ceiling when I got approved.

My Thoughts

I feel like I’ve been looking for this book my entire life. It was a masterpiece. I can’t stress enough how fantastic it was. It’s Malinda Lo meets The Goose Girl with a little bit of Game of Thrones thrown in.

The world building was incredible. The history and geography of the world was super well planned, and I felt completely immersed. I would love to see a map. Maybe that will appear in the finished book.

That leads in to the main strength of the book, which is the diversity. As you can see from the cover, the main character is non-white. She appears Asian on the cover and that’s how she is described. Her love interest, Kaia, has dark curly hair and darker skin, as do most of the Zefedi. It’s so realistic to have different people in different parts of the world not look all alike. The culture was really well-developed, too. Maren has to figure out how to fit in.

Kaia and Maren. Ah, they really are the sweetest. I can’t describe how happy I am to have a prominent lesbian couple in a fantasy novel. It melts my heart into a puddle of gay butter. And Maren is bisexual! (Or pansexual.) The one thing I was not keen on is that there’s a bit of a love triangle, which I never enjoy. And bi people tend to be stereotyped as promiscuous or more likely to cheat, so the love triangle doesn’t do any wonders to help debunk that stereotype. That knocks half a star off.

The plot is all over the place, and I mean that in the best way – I didn’t predict a single thing. Maren’s goal at the beginning is to rescue Kaia, but it gets amended several times throughout. That’s because of the outstanding characterization. Maren grows SO MUCH throughout the book and I am SO PROUD of her. She goes from being a shadow of her girlfriend to being this amazing, independent, strong-willed, powerful character and it’s truly amazing to read about.

And, dragon bonding? I’m 100% here for it. The Aromatory is an absolutely fascinating concept and plot point, and I’m super impressed with Rebecca Kim Wells’ creativity.

Honestly, this is one of the best books I have read all year, and I can’t recommend it enough. Thank you so much to NetGalley for the ARC. It did not influence my review; I genuinely LOVED this book.

My Rating

4.5 stars, rounded up to 5
★★★★★

Bob Ross Amigurumi

Do you guys like watching Bob Ross? For anybody who doesn’t know, he’s an American artist who did a TV show called “The Joy of Painting,” where he talks to the audience/camera while doing a half-hour painting. You can watch reruns on YouTube. It’s a really relaxing, calming show, which is why many people (including myself) enjoy watching it. He’s just such a positive, happy person and bestows the audience with gems of wisdom as he paints.

Bob Ross was also kind of the instigator of ASMR, which is another story entirely…

Anyway, my dad shares my affinity for Bob Ross, so for Father’s Day I collaborated with my sister to create a crochet version of our favorite painter.

50399581_2265043390181301_210524917299412992_n

My sister is skilled in the visual arts, so she did this painting to accompany Bob Ross (who would look quite lonely without a painting, I think). I found this canvas and easel at my college bookstore and picked it up because it was cute. It just happened to work perfectly for this project. She made him a cute little palette, too, which we jury-rigged to his hand with rubber bands and the power of hope.

As for the crochet, I used the same pattern as usual from Beth Weber of By Hook, By Hand. I almost have it memorized after making 10+ dolls from it. But it never gets old. This is how I made the clothes. I wasn’t super happy with how his hair turned out, but you know what Bob Ross says…

There are no mistakes, just happy little accidents.

50730762_2265043376847969_5041319121828970496_n

I had this box from a crochet kit that we repurposed for the presentation of the gift. My dad was delighted with his gift (he took these pictures, actually). Bob Ross is currently living at his workplace, where I’ve heard he is making coworkers smile.

It’s actually Bob Ross who landed me the commission for Nancy and Sluggo. Pro tip: make your amigurumi do the advertising for you. 😉

Do you like Bob Ross? Have you heard of him before? Let’s spread some Bob Ross positivity in the comments ❤

Book Review: Spirit Followers by Lydia Redwine

Hello lovely people! Remember a few weeks back when the wonderful Lydia Redwine was here for an author interview? I promised you a book review, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do today. But first, check out the interview if you haven’t already: the tagline is “let’s talk epic fantasy, homeschooling, and religion,” so you can tell you’re in for a fun time.

And now, to the review!

44292301._sy475_

About the Book

When a Royal dies, the realms elect the one to take their place. By reasons Camaria does not know, her realm elects her as the next Royal. Now that she is the new-found sixteenth Royal of the nation of Mirabelle, Cam embarks on a journey with her sisters and a young huntsman to the four realms of the nation to complete training in the four kinds of magic. Once she has completed this training, she will then be permitted to consume her annual amount of magic and possess manifested powers. Her ventures are unexpectedly steeped in precarious events when Cam discovers a secret plan of revolt, a past she never knew, and an ancient people group thought dead who call themselves the Spirit Followers.

  • Goodreads | Amazon | paperback is 332 pages (but the font is pretty small so it reads like a longer book)
  • Book 1 in the Instruments of Sacrifice series

My Thoughts

I had the privilege of copyediting this book, so I may not be entirely unbiased 😉 That being said, I wouldn’t feature a book on my blog if I didn’t genuinely think it was promising.

Spirit Followers is a wonderful example of indie fantasy! The characters are well-developed and diverse. I feel passionately about diverse characters in fiction and was delighted to find characters of all different races and countries (hailing from the fictional world, of course). Cam shows character growth throughout the book, as do her sisters. It may be difficult to keep them all straight at first, because there are quite a few of them, but it’s a rewarding experience because they’re all so sweet and feisty. There are several pairs of characters who I enthusiastically ship and I hope they will end up together in the next book!

The religion in the book seems to be inspired by Christianity but at no times is it overly preachy or overbearing. It was the perfect balance and is exactly what I hope for in books that have religion in them.

Content warning: sexual assault (both off-page and on-page when a character forces a kiss on another), violence, and mild swearing. All is handled respectfully and nothing is gratuitous.

My Rating

Because I was involved with the editing process, I don’t feel that I can actually give an unbiased rating, because I have an emotional investment here now. 🙂 What I can say is that this is a really excellent gem in the world of indie fantasy, and this author is definitely one to watch. I would recommend this book to fans of Shannon Hale in particular. Fans of C. S. Lewis would likely appreciate this series as well.

Thank you to Lydia for allowing me to review her book and feature her on Once Upon a Yarn!