TWiP: Spring Green

This Week in Pictures (TWiP) at Polka Dot Cottage

I noticed nature more than usual this week. That’s probably because everything is my favorite green right now. I love it!

I feel like I’ve packed a lot into this week, much of it undocumented here. For example, I haven’t shown you the upheaval in my dining room as I re-arrange a bunch of knicknacks. There’s nothing photogenic about that, believe me.

I’ve been working on a new crochet project which is actually finished, aside from weaving in ends and blocking. I will save the show-and-tell for next week. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that blocking does it a world of good because, frankly, it looks pretty terrible on me right now. It’s not at all the carefree beach tank I had in mind. Yet. There’s still hope.

I know I just put the polymer clay away less than a month ago, but I’ve been thinking of things I want (stud earrings, a new size G crochet hook…) and wishing I had my work table set up so I could crank them out. I do love having my dining room free from the art supplies, but at the same time, it’s hard to ignore the calling of the clay. Not sure what I’m going to do about that.

In terms of this week’s photos, you’ll probably notice I opted for convenience over fancy equipment several times this week. I consider my 365 project to be something I do with my DSLR, but I ended up just using my phone a lot instead.

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

Itโ€™s a roundup of the photos I shot with my DSLR* for Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2016), plus some phone* snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

*unless otherwise noted

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

Saturday

Instagram: I just love Spring Saturday mornings, breakfast in bed with the window open, quiet music playing, project on the hook… The only thing that could make this better would be to replace my breakfast bar with a crumb bun or a chocolate glazed donut 🍩;)

365: 2016 114/366 – It’s so nice to see everything greening up around here. I love the yellowish green of new leaves, especially when it’s up against a bright blue sky.

Sunday

365: 2016 115/366 – Some weekends I have to work, and on those particular weekends, it is sometimes impossible to concentrate without leaving the house for a little while. Today my mobile office was powered by an iced coffee with soy milk. [Taken at Starbucks with my phone]

Instagram: So, this @angrytearoom maple tea is everything I hoped it would be when I bought it. Delicious! 🍵

Monday

Instagram: Good morning! I’m giving away this mandala and 2 coasters โค Click here. Also at the same link, I show you how to make one of these mandalas yourself. Happy Monday ๐Ÿ™‚

365: 2016 116/366 – That’s a lot of dandelions… [Taken with my phone]

Instagram: Hello again 💟. I neglected to mention the alternate prize in my giveaway: a printed copy of the new #pdcmodfloralmandala pattern and your choice of any #handcrafted #crochethook in my shop. This means there’s a prize for the crocheters and a prize for the non-crocheters alike. Winners’ choice! Click here to enter ๐Ÿ™‚

Tuesday

Instagram: I have a job interview today – my first one since I was a senior in college. I’m wearing all store bought jewelry and clothes, because there will be plenty of time for my artistic side to peek through *after* my credentials land me a stable gig 😄 Wish me luck!

365: 2016 117/366 – I’m here a few minutes early for my interview. [Taken with my phone]

Wednesday

365: 2016 118/366 – I may have jumped the gun with the beach quilt. It’s been chilly at night. Luckily, I have a nice lap quilt that I can put on top to help trap some warmth. [Taken with my phone]

Instagram: I think I can probably finish this #lightandlacytop tonight, assuming I don’t waste a lot of time sipping iced coffee and instagramming ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for your encouragement yesterday. I think the interview went well, but I can’t really tell. I’ll find out soon enough!

Thursday

Instagram: I usually do a load of laundry right after lunch, but I don’t feel like it today. Maybe I’ll sit on the floor and work on a couple of #pdcfamilyroomsquircleghan squares instead ๐Ÿ˜‰

365: 2016 119/366 – Starbucks accidentally made us an extra cotton candy frappuccino this afternoon, so I stuck it in the freezer. At supper time, I divided it between two little mason jars and gave one to each of the boys with their chicken and corn bread. Naturally, I paused supper prep for a photo shoot, because really, how cute are these??

Friday

365: 2016 120/366 – There’s been an exciting development on my favorite peony plant: I see three flowers forming. Three! The most I’ve seen in past years is two, and *usually* there’s only one. But this year we have three! Yay!

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 Flickrย and/or Instagram.

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!

SAME WEEK PREVIOUS YEARS (2015)

This Week in Pictures

Skee Ball at the Shore, Volume 2

Skee Ball at the Shore Volume 2

Somewhere in the middle of tax preparation, I got the itch to make a second volume of my Skee Ball at the Shore mix. You’ll probably be impressed to hear that I actually supressed that urge until my responsibilities were finished. I know I impressed myself ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, I whipped up this little collection last week (and then changed my mind and swapped out four of the songs for others this morning, because I can’t ever leave well enough alone). If you liked the firstย one, you should enjoy this because it is very much more of the same.

It’s 21 tracks, about half of which are 70’s tunes. The rest of the music comes from the 60’s and the 80’s.

Tuesday Morning in Ocean City

For the last several years, I’ve gotten in the mood to listen to oldies in April and May. I chalk this up to a couple of things:

In April I’m anticipating our annual May trip to Ocean City, and for the most part, the only music we hear while we’re there is in the arcade. For the first several years, they played one of the local oldies stations in there. Last year they switched to some soft rock station, which seems like kind of an odd choice for an arcade, but whatever. I hope they go back to the old music, if only for the fact that this new stuff makes a liar out of my playlist names ๐Ÿ˜‰

In May, on Memorial Day weekend, I can’t seem to drive anywhere without some “greatest hits of all time” countdown on the radio (never mind that for most of these countdowns, “all time” doesn’t include anything newer than 1989). While I hardly ever listen to the radio anymore (opting instead for my own playlists) I do tend to listen to these countdowns. I keep hoping I’ll hear some favorite tune that completely slipped my mind. It happens sometimes, but maybe not enough to justify how much of the same-old same-old I have to listen to before then…

Anyway, practically two years to the day since I published Volume 1, here is Skee Ball at the Shore, Volume 2: another collection of some of my favorite tunes from days gone by.

Predictable creature that I am, I’ll probably be back here in April of 2018 with Volume 3 ๐Ÿ˜

Skee Ball at the Shore Volume 2 from lclarke522 on 8tracks Radio.

Happy Listening!

P.S. What are some of your favorite songs from that era? Do you have any? Or would you prefer to pretend that chapter of music history never existed? I know a few people who feel that wayย ๐Ÿ˜œ

Mod Floral Mandalas: Free Pattern Excerpt and Giveaway!

Reveal Day is always so exciting for me when I’ve been working on a project for a few weeks, and this is no exception. In fact, it’s even more of a thrill than usual, because I’m celebrating with an excerpt from the pattern and a giveaway!

Mod Floral Mandalas at Polka Dot Cottage

The crochet pattern is actually a 3-in-1. It starts with 5-inch flower coasters, moves on to a 12-inch mini mandala (which I will show you how to make below) and finishes up with a mega mandala which is more than two feet across! For more information on the pattern, check out the Mod Floral Mandalas page in the shop. Or, if you already know you want it, you can just press that button right thereย โ†™

For the giveaway, I’m offering up the mini mandala and the two flower coasters pictured! If you’d like these little guys for a special corner of your home, (or Mother’s Day is coming, maybe Mom would like them?) enter the giveaway at the end of this post for a chance to win.

The Pattern Excerpt

When you make these, I hope you’ll share on social media – I’d love to see your results! I’m using the #pdcmodfloralmandala hashtag on Instagram, and you should, too ๐Ÿ˜Š
19_mandala_step_by_step_18_ul

The mini mandala has 14 rounds and measures about 12 inches across.

Materials

17_mandala_step_by_step_09_ul

  • Less than 1ย ballย each inexpensive worsted weight (#4) cotton yarn in the following colors:
    • One or two shades of red and/or pink
    • One or two shades of blue-green
    • One or two shades of yellow-green
    • White
  • Crochet Hook, size G
  • Scissors
  • Yarn Needle

A note about yarn colors: You can make this design with 3 colors and white, or with six colors (two in each color family) and white. I’ve chosen the latter for this sample.

Gauge

The central flower motif should be 5 inches across, although gauge is not crucial in this pattern.

Abbreviations

sl st – slip stitch
ch – chain
sc – single crochet
hdc – half double crochet
dc – double crochet
sc3tog – single crochet 3 together

The pattern is written in US crochet terms. This chart from Mollie Makes can help you translate, if you’re used to UK terms.

These stitches are demonstrated in my Mod Floral Blanket video, if you need a refresher.

Mini Mod Floral Mandala

17_mandala_step_by_step_01_ul
The foundation ring: With blue-green #1: ch4, join with sl st in 1st ch.

17_mandala_step_by_step_02_ul

Round 1: ch3 (counts as dc here and throughout), ch1, [dc into center, ch1] 11 times. Join with sl st at top of beginning chain. (12 dc, 12 ch โ€“ 24 sts total)

17_mandala_step_by_step_03_ul

Round 2: ch3, [2dc in next dc, ch1, 2dc in next dc, (dc ch1 dc) in next dc] 3 times, 2 dc in next dc, ch1, 2dc in next dc, dc in next dc, ch1. Join with sl st at top of beginning chain. Fasten off blue-green. (32 sts)

17_mandala_step_by_step_04_ul

Round 3: With yellow-green #1: ch1, [hdc in next dc, 2dc in next dc, hdc in next dc, sc in ch1 sp] 8 times. Join with sl st in ch1. Fasten off yellow-green. (40 sts)

17_mandala_step_by_step_05_ul

Round 4: With red/pink #1: [ch1, 5dc in second dc, ch1, sc in next sc] 8 times. Join with sl st in ch1. (64 sts)

17_mandala_step_by_step_06_ul

Round 5: ch1, [sc in ch1 sp, dc in next dc, 2dc in next 4 dc, sc in ch1 sp] 8 times. Join with sl st in ch1. Fasten off red/pink. (88 sts)

19_mandala_step_by_step_11_ul

Round 6: Join white at 5th dc on any petal, ch1, sc in next 3 st, [sc3tog, sc in next 8 sts] 7 times, sc3tog, sc in next 5 st. Join with sl st in ch1. (72 sts)

19_mandala_step_by_step_12_ul

Round 7: sl st in next 2 sc, [sc, ch5, skip 3 sc, sc, ch5, skip 4 sc] 4 times. Join with sl st in sc.

19_mandala_step_by_step_13_ul

Round 8: [ch3, 4dc] in ch5 sp, ch1, [5dc in ch5 sp, ch1] 15 times. Join with sl st in top of ch3.

19_mandala_step_by_step_14_ul

Round 9: [ch6, dc] in ch1 sp, skip 2 dc, [dc, ch3, dc] in dc, *[dc, ch3, dc] in ch1 sp, skip 2 dc, [dc, ch3, dc] in dc, repeat from * 7 times. Join with sl st in 3rd chain of ch6.

19_mandala_step_by_step_15_ul

Round 10: [ch3, 2dc] in ch3 sp, ch1, * 3dc in ch3 sp, ch1, repeat from * 31 times. Join with sl st in top of ch3.

Round 11: [sc in ch1 sp, ch4 ] 32 times. Join with sl st in sc.

19_mandala_step_by_step_16_ul

Round 12: With blue-green #2: [ch3, 3dc] in ch4 sp, ch1, * 4dc in ch4 sp, ch1, repeat from * 31 times. Join with sl st in top of ch3. Fasten off blue-green.

19_mandala_step_by_step_17_ul

Round 13: With yellow-green #2: [sc in ch1 sp, ch4 ] 32 times. Join with sl st in sc. Fasten off yellow-green.

19_mandala_step_by_step_18_ul

Round 14: With red/pink #2: [sc, 4dc, sc] in ch4 sp 32 times. Join with sl st in sc. Fasten off red/pink.

Weave in ends and block if desired.

The eBook

The Mod Floral Mandalas eBook features three patterns: a coaster, the mini mandala above, and a mega mandala which has 30 rounds and measures 26 inches across.

If you know your way around a crochet hook and don’t need step-by-step photos and such, you’ll be fine with the “Just the Pattern” version.

Mod Floral Mandalas - Just the Pattern
Mod Floral Mandalas - Just the Pattern
No tutorial, just the 5-page pattern PDF.

Price: $3.99

If you feel the need for a little bit more hand-holding, then the Tutorial version may be more your speed.

Mod Floral Mandalas
Mod Floral Mandalas
ADVANCED BEGINNER level, step-by-step crochet tutorial.
Fully illustrated, 12-page PDF.

Price: $8.99

The Giveaway

Mod Floral Mandalas at Polka Dot Cottage

One lucky winner will get to take home the exact Mini Mod Floral Mandala that was featured in the excerpt above, plus two Mod Floral Coasters.

-AND-

Mod Floral Mandalas giveaway at Polka Dot Cottage
Another lucky winner will get a printed copy of the Mod Floral Mandala pattern+tutorial, plus any one handmade crochet hook that is available at the time of the drawing.

There are several ways to enter, so choose your favorites. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The fine print: choice of prize goes to the first winner drawn. The remaining prize will go to the next person drawn who has specified a preference for that remaining prize.

TWiP: Thinking about quilting

This Week in Pictures (TWiP) at Polka Dot Cottage

I’ve been thinking about quilting. Mainly I’ve been thinking about it in the way I always do – abstractly, with ideas for finished projects and where I’d put them, but no actual plans to pull out the sewing machine and make any of it happen.

I’ve got two quilt tops that I made for my kids in 2011 that are still waiting to be put together into something useful. I’ve got a baby blanket (for a niece who hasn’t been a baby in some time) that I abandoned when I didn’t like the way the quilting was coming out. I’ve got a pile of designer fat quarters in shades of aqua, mint, pink, and red that I’ve been saving for a quilt for my bed.

All of this, but no real drive to finish anything.

To be honest, I’m thinking a lot about that last pile of fabrics, and how nice it would be in my room. I love to use our beach quilt in the spring and summer (as you will see below), but it’s got a few problems. For one thing, it’s not quite big enough for a queen size bed, so it’s a challenge to keep ourselves covered the whole night. But perhaps more importantly, it is a beach quilt, and as such I have to take it off of the bed whenever we go down the shore. And then I have to wash the sand out of it before I can put it back on the bed when we return.

So, not exactly convenient.

I wonder if this will be the summer I finally snap and decide to make that minty bedroom quilt once and for all? If history is any indication, I will probably just sit around and daydream about it instead of taking action. I enjoy the daydreaming, though, so I suppose that’s something ๐Ÿ™‚

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

Itโ€™s a roundup of the photos I shot with my DSLR for Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2016), plus some phone snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

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

Saturday

365: 2016 107/366 – I had a rare unobstructed view of the moon tonight. Usually when I think to take a picture, there are too many trees in the way. Tonight it was in the perfect spot, and the sky was a perfecct shade of blue.

Instagram: Hmmm. I may not have thought this out very well, pouring myself a drink this close to bedtime… Hello, 3 am pee break.

Sunday

Instagram: What a beautiful day! @aidan.226 and I are enjoying some homemade iced coffee on the patio. I’m back to work on this #pdcmodfloralmandala finally. I was stalled due to yarn shortages and indecision ๐Ÿ˜‰

Instagram: It’s finished! It still needs some blocking, but other than that, I’m done ๐Ÿ˜Š I can’t wait to write up this pattern and share! ๐Ÿ’Ÿ #pdc #pdcmodfloralmandala

365: 2016 108/366 – I’m working on a new crochet tutorial for my blog, and I started shooting the step-by-step photos this afternoon, sitting by the open back door, where there was the best lighting. [Taken with my phone]

Monday

Instagram: It’s been a few years since I used my favorite quilt on my bed. Technically, it’s a beach blanket, but I took it out of the car this morning and I’m throwing it in the laundry to get rid of the sand. I know it’s a bit silly, but this cheery quilt makes me happy. Can’t wait to put it back on the bed this afternoon! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Instagram: One of these days, I will have to actually make the bedroom quilt that I’ve been collecting fabrics for since 2010… For now, though, I love having the beach quilt I made the year before that on the bed in the spring (as long as I wash the sand out of it first, of course ๐Ÿ˜„)

Instagram: Do I *have* to start supper now? Because I kinda want to just doze off here on the bed with the late afternoon window breeze blowing over me… ๐Ÿ’Ÿ๐Ÿ˜ด

365: 2016 109/366 – It’s just not spring unless the kitchen is crawling with tiny ants. Sigh. I was hoping to deter them by killing every scout I saw over the last few weeks, but today they’ve been arriving in a heavy trickle, and I’ve purchased ant traps.

Tuesday

Instagram: Sometimes I need to remind myself that crocheting in the middle of the day is not “goofing off” if I’m doing it for pattern designing purposes. It still feels like I ought to be doing something else, though. Like laundry. Or the dishes. #pdc #pdcmodfloralmandala

365: 2016 110/366 – It’s a beautiful day for blocking your crochet work on the floor in front of an open door.

Wednesday

Instagram: Good morning, Instagram! Are you tired of this project yet? The good news is that the #crochet work is all finished, as is (I think) the photography. Today will be all about translating my notes into a readable pattern. Three patterns, in fact: a coaster, a mini mandala, and a mega mandala. Also, I think it’s been far too long since I had a giveaway, so let’s do that, too. I’ll announce it all here, when I’m ready, so be sure to follow me ๐Ÿ˜Š #pdc #pdcmodfloralmandala

365: 2016 111/366 – Aidan and his little cousin Kailey having a chat. [Taken at my in-laws’ house.]

Thursday

365: 2016 112/366 – Self Portrait Thursday. I finally, finally got the hair cut I’ve been putting off. I feel much better now ๐Ÿ™‚

Instagram: My vintage sheet pajamas are blending in with my vintage sheet quilt. I feel like a 1970’s bedtime chameleon ๐Ÿ˜†. New project on the hook, BTW. It’s a #dorischan #lightandlacytop I hope to wear to the beach next month. Counting the days to that trip!

Friday

365: 2016 113/366 – I’ve been moving stuff around the family room today, trying to figure out the best place to put this mandala, if not permanently, then at least for the ebook photos. I do think it’s going to live on this table, though. It’s all of the stuff I put around it that will probably not stay there…

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 Flickrย and/or Instagram.

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!

SAME WEEK PREVIOUS YEARS (2015)

This Week in Pictures