The Cat in the Christmas Tree Hat (is not a very happy cat)

If you’re a knit- or crochet-a-holic and you share an abode with a cat, you may have discovered that your cat delights in watching you work your magic with your needles/hook and yarn.

xmas tree hat for catBut if your cat is like my Otis—strongly averse to being dressed in tiny outfits with matching accessories—certain needlework projects have the capacity to make his back arch, his fur stand on end, and cause a mighty scrambling of paws as … away he flies like the down on a thistle.

And what sort of project would prompt that kind of reaction?

wearing his new xmas tree hat5

Giving me a dirty look.

If you guessed a cat hat, you’re absolutely right!

So now guess what I made for Otis.

I discovered the most adorable crochet pattern for a tiny tabletop Christmas tree at a really cool crochet and craft site called Pops de Milk. But instead of using it as an ornament, I imagined instead how festive it would look on top of Otis’s bare little head. 🙂

wearing his new xmas tree hat4

If cats could swear…

You can find the SO easy-to-make pattern at this link: http://popsdemilk.com/crochet-christmas-tree-buttons-2/) I used emerald-green worsted weight yarn and a 4 mm hook, and left it hollow instead of crocheting a base. I finished the bottom edge with one round of single-crochet in red yarn, then chained a strap just long enough to fit under his chin and button up on the other side to keep the hat from falling off. (Until it’s been stubbornly shaken off, that is.)

Then after digging through my cupboard of notions for some buttons and a string of tiny decorative Christmas lights, I sewed everything onto the tree. The entire project was completed in an evening.

Otis was only very briefly willing to model his new Christmas Tree hat, and I had to pay him afterward with treats. Monkey is now the new owner.

wearing his new xmas tree hat3wearing his new xmas tree hat1xmas tree hat on monkey

Hey! That reindeer looks a lot like a cat…

oats the reindeer1My poor little ragdoll cat, Otis, is at the mercy of my Christmas spirit this year as well as my “id” (the little girl that cared about nothing but playing dress up with dolls).

I discovered a priceless reindeer antler hat at the dollar store that fit him like a glove. Unfortunately for him, he does NOT like his new hat, thus the photo of my hubby having to hold him so I could get a picture that wasn’t a bluoats the reindeer4 copyr of a body jumping in the air with paws ripping at antlers.

My mom’s 80th birthday is coming up soon and I’m hoping he’ll be in the mood to wear his new bow tie on the day of! 🙂

Remember those snowflakes I crocheted in an earlier post? Well I fashioned them into a simple garland by using bits of jewelry wire to attach them to a long red silk cord with tassels. Here they are hanging on my fireplace. I used sparkly yarn to make the snowflakes, so they shimmer in certain lighting.

christmas garlandIt’s so easy to make a garland out of just about anything. Get creative! Do something different! A search on the Web offers a wealth of ideas. I’ve seen everything from cookie-cutter garlands to intricately cut paper garlands to bread-dough ornament garlands. The ideas are endless. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon, especially with your kids or grandkids. (And it’s the only time of year that you can make something really crazy tacky and still be able to hang it up in your house!)

Voila! From diamonds to star

My crochet hook has prodded me into working on yet another Christmas project, all in the spirit of adding more festive touches around my home.

cushion_christmas star2After seeing a picture of a pretty quilt pattern fashioned from diamond shapes, I wanted to try to create a similar design using crocheted diamonds in place of fabric.

I also wanted to work on a project that would come together a lot faster than a quilt or afghan (go figure—Christmas will soon be here yesterday) so I decided that a cushion would be a manageable way of puzzling around with diamond shapes.

I discovered that this project is easy enough for beginners, so do go ahead and give it a try!

Here’s what I used:
Acrylic yarn—one ball each of dark green, cranberry, and cream, and a 5.5 mm hook. I used Lion Brand/Vanna’s Choice yarn, since I loved the rich colour of the Cranberry #180. Since it’s a small project, I had lots of yarn left over from each ball.

Once I’d organized my supplies, I curled up in a comfy chair and used the pattern below to make a bunch of diamonds.

diamond(Abbreviations: ch=chain; sc=single crochet;
hdc=half double crochet; dc=double crochet; tr-treble crochet.)

Ch 4 and slip stitch to into the first chain to close it into a ring.

Round 1: Ch 1; *(1 sc, 1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 tr—ch 3—1 tr, 1 dc, 1 hdc) all into ring. Repeat from * one more time. Slip stitch into the first sc to close.

Round 2: Ch 5; 1 dc in the first sc (or the same space you’re beginning from); *1 dc in each of the next 3 sts; (3 dc—ch 4—3 dc) in the ch-3 space; 1 dc in each of the next 3 sts**; (1 dc—ch 2—1 dc) in the next sc; repeat from * to **; join to the 3rd ch of beginning ch-5.

Round 3: Ch 3; (1 dc—ch 3—1 dc) in the ch-2 space; 1 dc in each of next 2 dc’s; ch 1; skip the next dc; 1 dc in each of next 3 dc’s; ch 1; skip the next dc; (3 dc—ch 5—3 dc) in the ch-4 space; ch 1; skip the next dc, 1 dc in each of next 3 dc’s; ch 1; skip the next dc**; dc in the next 2 dc’s; repeat from * to **; dc in the last dc; join to top of ch-3. Fasten off and weave in end.

Crochet five diamonds in each colour. Then, starting with your cranberry diamonds, use your yarn needle to sew them together exactly as they appear in the photos, using a simple whip-stitch. Once the cranberry diamonds are stitched together, sew the cream to the cranberry, then the green to the cream. When you’ve finished, you’ll have a beautiful circle of diamonds. (cushion_christmas star1If you’re really ambitious, you could carry on from here to create an incredible-looking afghan but you’d need to gather up a whole lot more balls of yarn for such a project.)

For the back of the cushion, I just used the dark green yarn to crochet a plain circle approximately the same size as the front piece, then whip-stitched it to the green diamonds (it all seemed to fit well cushion_christmas star3enough even though I was working a circular piece against the diamond points). Leave enough of an opening to stuff it with fiberfill (or you can use a cushion round; I was too lazy to go out shopping for one). Then continue to stitch closed the open space. As a finishing touch, I sewed a tiny gold bell in the middle and pulled the thread through to the back so it would make an indent.

So there you go. I call it my Christmas star cushion.

It’s short story time!

If you’ve been up to your eyeballs in Christmas decorations recently, this very short story may inspire you to look at things just a little bit differently!

All Dressed Up

Immobile, I stand watch over my surroundings.

My eyes never close. My stance never changes. I am always aware.

I cannot speak yet I can hear and see. I cannot touch yet I can feel.

I yearn to scream, to reach out, to make myself heard. Impossible, since I will never be free of the binds that confine me to this fate.

How I long to feel the sensation of touch; to trail a fingertip along the surface of one of the petals of the poinsettia plant beside me. So delicate in appearance yet such strength and vitality in its growth. I have memorized the intricate web of veins etched into each leaf and petal; the blend of jade, lime and crimson stippled with shadows and light.

I sense the powerful resonance of your music as it seeps its way into my being. It makes me want to move, to sway, to leap with every vibration.

I smell the enticing aromas of your kitchen as they drift and curl around me in torturous wisps of temptation. I watch you partake; my hunger is also my anguish.

So weary am I of observing, of desiring. How I long to live as you do, to experience all that I watch you take for granted.

Yet remain here I will, for as long as you will have me; standing still and silent until you grow tired of me.

Can you see the tears in my eyes? Of course not. For I cannot cry.

I am nothing but a Christmas ornament—an elegant glass figurine that decorates your mantle.

As you pause to study me, to admire my flawless beauty, I invite you to look a little closer.

Try to see the invisible tears of one who lives dormant and lonely.

 

 

 

It’s Beginning To Feel A Lot Like…

I went for a walk in my neighborhood on November 2nd and was surprised to see several homes with Christmas trees twinkling in their front windows already. And why not? With the weather we’ve been having in Ontario this year, it sure feels like Christmas is around the corner!

xsnowflakes copy

I’m not usually feeling the Christmas spirit until right up to the bitter end, but this year I’ve softened a little. Already, I’ve crocheted a bunch of snowflakes (the patterns are so pretty, I’ve wanted to try making some for a while now) in sparkly white yarn and gold yarn. The idea of what to do with them is still brewing in my mind, so stay tuned.

A few weeks ago I saw a pattern at 1dogwoof for cute gnomes made with crochet and wine corks. I decided to use the pattern to make some Christmas gnomes/elves to decorate my fireplace mantel. If you’d like to see the pattern, you can find it here at her lovely site: http://www.1dogwoof.com/2013/12/crochet-gnome-cork-peg-doll-ornament.html

As usual, I always start a pattern with good intentions but end up deviating from it and doing my own thing. I chose burgundy and green worsted weight yarn and for one elf, I chose gold yarn.

My Christmas elves are chubbier and they turned out larger, so the wine corks were too small. The first one I made fell over without the anchor of the wine cork, so my friend Susan, who was over that evening for a stitch-a-thon with me in my craft room, suggested that I stuff the body with an empty pill bottle. Wouldn’t you know it—I just happened to have one in my trash bin so I dug it out and it worked perfectly.

I stuffed the heads with fiberfill and the hats were stiff enough to stand up on their own. I sewed a little bell to the tip of each hat and trimmed them with a row of single crochet in fuzzy white yarn. Then I cut small scarves from white felt, sewed them on and embellished them by gluing tiny red and green seed beads at the neck in a pattern that looks like holly and berries. For the eyes, I just made French knots with black floss. And I used some blusher on a q-tip to give them rosy cheeks.

I had a gold, Christmas-themed tea light candle holder among my Christmas decorations, so I dug it out and my four elves fit perfectly into each tea light groove.

xchristmas gnomes

My elves are displayed on my fireplace mantel but they would also look adorable as part of a Christmas dinner table centerpiece.

Try making one. It’s a great beginner project—easy and quick to make.

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