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

I knit a hat.

Posted December 17th, 2014 by

04 hat 02 for upload

Well, hey there, you.

I’ve been working on several different knitting and crochet projects at once lately, which is so unlike me! I prefer to focus on one project at a time, power through it, and then move on to the next. But for some reason, I’ve been dabbling.

All of this lack-of-focus has made me lose track of what I have shown you and what I have not. I finished this slouchy hat a few weeks ago. I even took the glamour shots (such as they are – a lot of arms-length camera work in less-than-ideal lighting). But I never wrote about it.

04 hat 04 for upload

New slouchy hat for me.

So. This hat. I have a history of making myself hats that I never wear, and for some time, I’ve been perusing Ravelry in search of the perfect pattern. It had to have some slouch to it. It had to look nice on my head. And it would be nice if it also had some interesting stitch work, preferably cables.

Well, two out of three ain’t bad. I ended up choosing this super simple pattern with some ribbing at the brim and the rest in stockinette, because I had this amazing yarn I bought at Rhinebeck, and I figured a complicated stitch pattern would just get lost among the colors. This yarn really does all of the interesting work on this hat.

So, it was super simple, super fast, and oh! the alpaca yarn is super soft. I really love it.

I knit this sucker in just one day!

Just one problem… I really haven’t satisfied that itch to try an interesting stitch pattern. I predict another hat on my needles this winter! Probably something from Tin Can Knits. Those ladies know how to design really cool hats!

04 hat 06 for upload

The Details

Pattern: Sleep Season Slouch by Rose Bloom
Yarn: Morning Moon Alpacas Hand Dyed 100% Baby Alpaca in 13-A
Modifications: I omitted the pom-pom. For now.

TWiP: Festive!

Posted December 13th, 2014 by

This Week in Pictures

Ooh, this mosaic makes me feel so festive! I’m a little bit behind this year, in terms of decorating for Christmas, but I put Tacky Santa in the window last weekend, and have been playing with a string of holiday lights that have been keeping me entertained for days. I nearly forgot there was more decorating to be done!

Yesterday I decided to tackle the kitchen, but I was having trouble getting motivated to do it. I ended up setting up two cameras on tripods and photographing the kitchen from two angles at five-minute intervals so I could have a stop-motion video of my progress.

In the end, I didn’t think the video was really worth making, but the kitchen got cleaned and the Christmas linens got put out, so I think the effort was worthwhile! I’m considering the same trick in the living room some time this weekend. While Tacky Santa is giving his signature red glow to the room, that’s really the only festive thing in there (impressive as it is). I need to at least put out the Santa pillows.

I am feeling so darn festive!

I still don’t have my gift-giving very well-planned yet, but that’s nothing new. My strategy is a mixture of thinking WAY ahead (like, picking up the odd gift here and there in August or October, or spending all of November crocheting a gift) and doing a mad-dash of online shopping three days before Christmas. I am Last-Minute Lisa. Except in the few cases where I’m not.

It’s fun to be me :-)

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. December’s theme is “Merry,” wherein I will try to find something cheerful and festive even when I feel entirely too busy and/or crabby [which, incidentally, is exactly when it will do me the most good].)

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


365: Merry 6/31 – I spent all afternoon purging a lot of junk from my bedroom (LONG overdue!), and then I kicked back and relaxed with a December slide show.


365: Merry 7/31 – Liberated from his attic shackles, Tacky Santa surveys the as-yet-undecorated living room with disapproval.

Instagram: It’s getting harder and harder to crochet around where the purple squares should be. Hope my yarn order gets here soon :-)


365: Merry 8/31 – When I sat down to fill some more hook orders this morning, I decided I needed a little festivity at my work table. I plugged in my foil tabletop tree, and dumped a pile of white lights on the end of the table. Tacky Santa watched from the living room window.


365: Merry 9/31 – And in the "anything can be merry if it’s surrounded by enough little white lights" department, I present our afternoon snack.


Instagram: Hello, delicious breakfast treat :-)

Instagram: Wow. I can’t remember the last time I had a middle of the night idea that resulted in a morning trip to the clay aisle! #pdc

Instagram: So, this is what came of this morning’s clay shopping trip. It’s sparkly, and pretty much exactly what I had envisioned (which doesn’t happen every day)! #pdc #polymerclay #jewelry

365: Merry 10/31 – Not everyone is lucky enough to be greeted by a creepy vintage double-faced light-up Santa head when they come home at night…


365: Merry 11/31 – I have kind of a thing for red at this time of year. Can you tell?


365: Merry 12/31 – I dumped them on a table top, I draped them around a snack tray, and now I’ve put them in a bowl. I think It’s safe to say I am never actually hanging up these lights.

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!

Weekend Favorites

Posted December 12th, 2014 by

Well hello there. Welcome to another Friday that completely snuck up on me! It’s been an odd week. My routines are all out-of-whack. I did manage to share a couple of links and find a few pretty pictures, though!

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. IMG_8939, 2. 343/365, 3. Day #11 Advent: Let’s make Christmas cards! (Yes, I am almost 40 & that is my handprint.) And thank you, Pinterest, for all the fun ideas! #christmascard #crafty #balloonadvent #kids #snowman, 4. 12.08.2014, 5. Walk in the Park, 6. Whats your favourite holiday flavour ?, 7. Pendentif_Fleuri, 8. Another Perch for Robin, 9. Three Wooden Soldiers for the Christmas Tree: Advent Day 1 and 333/365, 10. Afternoon Light On The Stove II With Flash (DYPHAS02, Day Twenty Four), 11. a few of my favorite things #Wednesday #still_life #vscocam, 12. Winters Dream

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.

  • PVC-Pipe Tree – a project from Martha Stewart. Last week I shared a couple of flat tree projects that were interesting. Here’s another alternate Christmas tree that’s really cool. I like it white like this, but you could probably paint it to be more tree-like (green and brown).
  • Food Photography Lighting – tips from Click it Up a Notch. This is great now that the days are getting shorter and great light is not streaming in the windows quite as often. These tips are not helpful just for food, but for anything you want to photograph that’s relatively flat like a plate: jewelry, knits in progress, etc.

Happy Friday!

One last shop update!

Posted December 8th, 2014 by

I’m just popping in here really quickly tonight to tell you about a few new things in the shop.

Crochet-hook-making, Batch 1, Day 3.

First, there are crochet hooks. I’m not taking custom orders anymore, but I have added some brand new ready-to-ship hooks with fancy-pants polymer clay handles. They’re brightly-colored and super comfy to use. You don’t have to take my word for it, either, as lots of people have left their feedback (find that on the left sidebar of the hook page). There are fourteen new hooks made in my most popular sizes, so with luck you will find one perfect for you!

Check out the crochet hooks here.

The new cards are here.

Also, the new note cards are here, and let me tell you, they are so nice! The card stock is heavy, and the satin finish is delicious. These satin cards are available individually, but there is a discount for buying five or more. Additionally, there are two new designs in the budget-friendly glossy style. There are some Christmas cards, some Winter cards, and even one card with a crochet theme (there will be more crafty cards coming next year). All of the cards are blank, so you can add your own message.

Check out the note cards here.

Merry 8/31

I’m working on the last of the custom orders this week, and they are on schedule to ship on Friday, so hooray!

My last shipping day before Christmas will be December 19th, so please place your orders by Thursday the 18th, if you don’t want to wait until January to see your stuff!

Go shopping here!

Boy, I will be glad on December 20th when I can take off my salesperson hat. I love making stuff and sending it to you, but I am not a big fan of hopping up on the stage here and hawking it. If I could figure out how to get this stuff to sell itself, I’d be a happy camper.

By the way, that shop closing date does not apply to the downloads shop. That shop pretty much runs itself, so you can buy patterns and tutorials at 3:00am on Christmas morning if you really want to, and I won’t stand in your way.

In fact, I will be grateful for your order, and I will send you a little note of thanks as I always do!

TWiP: Stuff is Happening

Posted December 6th, 2014 by

This Week in Pictures

When my kids were little, they liked to make up songs and record themselves singing them. We have a veritable treasure trove of these old gems, one of which is entitled “Stuff is Happening.” It consists of the title phrase being sung repeatedly for a good 45 seconds.

I have “Stuff is Happening” on an infinite loop in my head this week, as I think about everything I am trying to get done. I’m having a busier-than-usual time. I have a lot of irons in the fire, any one of which probably would have been fine alone. But taken together? It’s kind of a wonder I haven’t burned down the house yet.

I was tempted to fire off another quickie “I’m too busy to say anything” introduction to this post, but I’ve been doing that far too often lately.

My December photo project has me seeking out ways to be “merry” on a daily basis, which is frankly not so easy. For one thing, we don’t decorate here immediately after Thanksgiving like some people do, so if I want to photograph Christmas decorations, I have to leave the house and go looking for them. It’s a conscious effort to be sure that I can fill the day’s assignment.

This, it turns out, is a good thing. Twice this week I have resisted the temptation to slip on my pjs early, and have instead gone out to do something fun for myself. Thursday night I attended my town’s Holiday Night and took lots of fun pictures of stores, decorations, and lights. And Friday night, I put on my red sweater and my red lipstick, and I took myself to Starbucks to cash in a freebie and enjoy a peppermint mocha Frappuccino while the Christmas music played.

These little moments are definitely going to be more memorable than what I would have been doing – hanging out on the couch in my pajamas, crocheting and watching TV. Of course, I do really enjoy hanging out on the couch in my pajamas, crocheting and watching TV, but it’s not exactly memorable when you do it every night!

Speaking of which, it is after 9:30 on a Friday night as I write, and I am overdue for my date with a yarny project!

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 was “monochrome.” December’s theme is “Merry.”)

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


Instagram: Keeping busy while the kid gets a haircut.

365: BW 29/30 – Firewood in the snow.


365: BW 30/30 – My yarn swift in motion, as I make a center-pull ball.


365: Merry 1/31 – Nothing like a few new mp3 cd compilations for the car, to get one in a merry mood!


Instagram: Time to cover the first batch of hooks! #crochet #polymerclay #pdc

365: Merry 2/31 – Snow flurries!


Instagram: Hook-making day two. I did the thirteen I had scheduled yesterday, plus another 13 for the shop (26 – a record for me!). They’re not finished. I still have to put in a few hours sanding the daylights out of them and buffing them to a nice shine. #crochet #polymerclay #pdc

Instagram: Afternoon snack. Mama went food shopping :-)

365: Merry 3/31 – All I need is a box of Bachmann’s pretzel sticks and a can of Coke, and I’ll have my favorite holiday snack from my teenage years. It’s a shame I don’t have that kind of metabolism anymore…


365: Merry 4/31 – Holiday Night in Stirling.


Instagram: …aaaaand Batch #1 is done! They’re all shined-up and ready to be popped in the mail :-) #crochet #polymerclay #pdc

365: Merry 5/31 – Peppermint mocha Frappuccino. I upgraded to a grande (from my usual tall) because it was a freebie :-) P.S. My nail polish has officially seen better days.

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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