Polka Dot Cottage | Making stuff and telling you all about it since 2005

Weekend Favorites

Posted November 21st, 2014 by

It’s been a chilly week in New Jersey. We’ve had the fire going a few times, and (as you can see below) I’ve spent plenty of cozy time with my laptop flipping through Flickr. So many seasonal shots to enjoy!

On Flickr

The mosaic below represents other people’s pictures that spoke to me this week. Be sure to click on the titles below the mosaic, if you want to know more about the image or the photographer behind it.

(follow me on flickr)

Weekend Favorites at Polka Dot Cottage

1. pompom frenzy brought on by seeing @ashleygoldberg’s, 2. improving my letters, 3. elephant ornament, 4. Scrappy String Quilt, 5. 297 Fallen, 6. Untitled, 7. Untitled, 8. @ Herne Bay, Kent, 9. hff!!, 10. Just relaxing., 11. Late October Høvikvollen, 12. This came off the needles this morning. I’m in love with how soft this yarn is., 13. Namsan Leaves 1, 14. 318/365, 15. 290/365 ~ alone, 16. Filming Fall Foliage, 17. {Day Two Hundred Eight}, 18. AUTUMN, 19. PIca-Pau at Smug, London, 20. garden room, 21. DSC06470, 22. Arnold, 23. Meringues, 24. 303/365, 25. 314/365, 26. A rainbow wall of sticky notes, 27. Swing with nature., 28. Whitby Marina, 29. Green Yellow Orange and Red 316/365, 30. Boxes of Colour

Around the Web

I spend some time earlier in the week sharing my favorite crafty links through social media. And then I repeat them here on Fridays.

  • Cosy Blanket CAL – a laid-back crochet-along with Attic24. Lucy is hosting this blanket-making crochet-along, featuring her signature bright colors and a simple-but-attractive stitch pattern that looks pretty simple to grasp even for beginners.
  • Learn to Knit a Raglan Cardigan – a video tutorial from Very Pink Knits, via Lion Brand Notebook. I’ve referred to Very Pink Knits on YouTube many times when I’ve wanted to figure out a knitting technique that puzzled me. I think she’d be an excellent teacher, if you wanted to learn to knit your first sweater…
  • 10 Gifts to Sew + Give for Winter Warmth – a timely round-up from Sew Mama Sew. Sew Mama Sew is in the midst of their month of gift-giving roundups, and this particular entry spoke to me today. Our high temperature is supposed to be somewhere around 29 degrees. Brrr. So, Winter Warmth? Yes, please!
  • This Father Creates Powerful Dreams For His Daughter – amazing photography shared by F Stop Lounge. Wow. These images are really cool. I think my favorite is the one with the little girl taking a nap on the wing of an airplane in flight, but really it’s hard to choose. They’re all so fantastical and yet they look so real.

Happy Friday – stay cozy!

Over the river and…

Posted November 19th, 2014 by

Through the Woods

Through the Woods

Through the Woods

Another knit sliding off of my needles!

Actually, this particular knit has been off of my needles for some time, but being that it is a birthday present for my mother-in-law, and I didn’t need it until today, I dragged my heels when it came to adding the buttons. I dragged them for a good month, and only sewed the little buggers onto the hood two days ago.

So, I have been finding the whole premise of this garment a bit odd, I will admit. I’ve referred to it as the disembodied hood many times, as it just seems like it should have a cardigan or a jacket to go with it.

I have to admit, though, that I came around once I tried it on. It’s really quite warm, with the bottom part keeping you all toasty in a scarf-like capacity, and the top part preserving the warmth of your head… I actually kind of like this thing.

The best part? Not counting the aforementioned button-related heel-dragging, I knit this up in a little more than a weekend! Yes, it was a very knit-focused weekend, but still. It was much quicker than it looks. And I loved doing the cables. I’m a fan.

The details

Pattern: Through the Woods by Kalurah
Yarn: Cascade Ecological Wool in Ecru
Modifications: none!


Posted November 18th, 2014 by


How do you like my naked crochet hook collection? Someday many of them will have polymer clay handles, but today they’re just hanging out in the buff.

I’ve been storing them in this homemade organizer ever since I started accumulating them in any great number. It’s been a few years at this point, I guess. The box is a sturdy Lands End shoebox. Inside the box is a set of 28 toilet paper tubes, held together with paper clips, and inside each tube is a rolled-up piece of card stock where I’ve written the contents of each tube.

I’ve often thought I’d like to decorate the box and make it more visually-appealing, but its plainness has grown on me. That, and laziness. Ok, it’s mostly laziness. I will probably never get around to decorating that poor box.

I did re-organize the contents, though. I realized today that my old method wasn’t working for me. I hardly ever sell steel hooks, and yet they were taking up more than half of the box. So I grouped them together into fewer tubes, and spread out the aluminum hooks in a way that will make it easier to find what I need. Yay!

Did you know that within twelve hours of announcing last night that the shop was open, I had already received one third of the total number of orders I can realistically handle? Wow! At this rate, I’ll have to close the shop in just a few days!

So thank you very much. Seeing those orders come in is simultaneously thrilling and panic-inducing. I’m so happy you like my work, but eek! Now I have to actually set up the clay table and make these things in a timely manner. Eek!

You’ve twisted my arm, now it’s time!

Posted November 17th, 2014 by

Custom crochet hooks, buttons, pendants, and stick pens at Polka Dot Cottage

Ok, I heard you loud and clear – you’d like me to make more crochet hooks! I wasn’t going to do it this year, but you’ve twisted my arm…

Being that it’s already almost the end of November, and I know how crazy December can be, I have had to take an honest look at how much clay work I can realistically do between now and Christmas. And it’s not all that much, I’m afraid.

Therefore, I am opening the shop for custom orders until next Monday, November 24th OR until I have as many orders as I can handle – whichever comes first.

I have no real idea how many of you who expressed an interest will actually pull the trigger on these, but if a large percentage of you do, I’ll fill up my quota pretty quickly. In other words, if you have your heart set on something, please don’t wait too long!

It’s not just crochet hooks I am willing to do. I am also up for making buttons, pendants, and stick pens, so there’s something for you non-crocheters out there, too.

Ready? Set… Go!

P.S. I’ve made some tweaks to the shopping cart – please tell me if anything is not working as it should!

TWiP: The usual

Posted November 15th, 2014 by

This Week in Pictures at Polka Dot Cottage

If you recall, when last we saw our intrepid crew they were spending a long weekend in Virginia at the World Fantasy Convention, hanging out with friends and doing what they usually do at these things.

On Sunday Neil and the rest of the Clarkesworld gang won the award they were up for (yay!) and we were actually there for the ceremony. Usually we watch these things from home via the interwebs, so it was nice to be there in person this time, to congratulate my favorite editor, and to snap a few photos of my own.

We came home Sunday night, and the rest of this week has pretty much been the usual. This is a good thing, because in general I like the usual.

By the way, in case you missed it yesterday and you really like this photo-sharing thing of mine, you should check out my new Tumblr blog. It’s pretty much 99% photos and 1% words. (I save my talking for this place!) Have a peek.

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365, plus some everyday-life images I posted on Instagram during the previous week. (FYI, my daily photo project this year has changing monthly themes. November’s theme is “monochrome” or some variation thereof. Black and white, sepia, split tones, basically anything goes as long as it’s super desaturated.)

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…


365: BW 8/30 – There’s just nothing like being upside down on a hotel couch on a bright sunny day.

Instagram: When we are away from home it is surprisingly easy to convince me that Starbucks is an acceptable lunch.


Instagram: Lingering over coffee

Instagram: They won! Congrats to Clarkesworld :-)

365: BW 9/30 – Refueling at a turnpike rest stop.


365: BW 10/30 – Oh, the irony of a dust-encrusted vacuum!


365: BW 11/30 – We had pasta for supper tonight, and Netflix kept me company while I prepared it.


365: BW 12/30 – Foggy morning.

Instagram: It’s the old exercising while knitting experiment.


Instagram: On schedule to publish my new #loomknitting pattern today or tomorrow! #pdc

365: BW 13/30 – Lately I find I am a lot more productive if I leave the house, and jump start my work old-school-style with pen and paper. After that, I’m ready to go back home and hop on the computer to finish up.


Instagram: So, this just happened. A paper straw photo shoot. All I wanted was a glass of water, and before I knew it… hello camera and backdrops and 30 images of straws in a mason jar. #easilydistracted

365: BW 14/30 – For some reason when I have to take black and white photos, I get in the mood to use old things as my subjects.

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

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