Friday 30 May 2014

Finding Beauty Where I Am

I have felt lately that I am failing to appreciate the beauty that exists where I live. I look at pictures on other blogs of the beautiful towns and landscapes and I wish that I lived there, somewhere prettier than where I am. This is so silly, because there is plenty of beauty right around me if I just open my eyes and take it in, pause a moment to appreciate it for what it is.
So I have made it a small mission of mine to get out there and enjoy the pretty places in my town, to visit spots I know of and also to explore the lesser known corners.

On Tuesday afternoon the girls and I visited one of the community gardens. I drive through this garden quite often but cannot recall the last time I actually stopped the car, got out, and walked around.
It was a gorgeous afternoon....the girls running about laughing and shouting, the flowers, the sun.
Beauty found. Right where I am.

And I already have a few ideas on where we can go next.

Thursday 29 May 2014

Attic 24 Mandala

What really got me started on all this mandala making was this post.

Lucy from Attic 24 has asked people the world over to crochet a mandala and send it to her so that she can create a breathtaking wall display of mandalas for Yarndale. When I read her request I was giddy with excitement imagining how absolutely stunning such a display will look; I knew I had to be a part of this.

This is the mandala I made to send off:
The pattern is the same as this one I showed you last week, though once I finished this one, I realized that I had misread the pattern on the first mandala (nothing major, just a few too many stitches making for a larger mandala than is wanted for Yarndale).

The larger mandala has found a home under a spider plant on my dining room table.
And my contribution to Yarndale has been mailed. I am so excited to see how the display comes together, to see all the colorful crochet, and to hear from where in the world all the mandalas came from.
I currently have one mandala on my hook and several new ideas for color combinations floating around my creative mind. I know I said I wasn't going to buy any more yarn until the big yarn sale in the summer but I may need to pick up just a few small balls of cotton so that I can keep going. Because I just can not stop making these wonderful circles.

Friday 23 May 2014

Mandala Maddness

I now completely understand the current mandala obsession in Blogland.

They are so fun to make!!!! The best part, in my opinion, is deciding which color to work the next round in. I have collected all my cotton yarn into one basket and put it at my end of the couch where I have sat this week happily working the rounds and smiling while I pick which color to use next. It has been a very happy crochet week.

I have made these two mandalas already and am currently working on my third....with thoughts of a fourth not far off.
The pattern for this one can be found here.
And this pattern can be found here.
So pretty and so much fun to make.

Thursday 22 May 2014

What A Hoot!

I finally finished this owl.
Interrupted and distracted by many other projects, it took me a long time to get it done. This girl was so patient and so happy when she finally got to hug her new friend.
I used yarn from my stash and the free pattern available here.

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Blog Your Heart Out

I have been nominated by Katie to participate in the Blog Your Heart Out Challenge. This is an online chain letter where I need to answer 5 questions and then pass the questions on to 5 other bloggers. Sounds like fun.
Thanks for the nomination Katie. Here are my answers to the questions:

Who/What encouraged you to start blogging?

I was encouraged to begin blogging by all the great blogs that are out there. I was so incredibly impressed by all the creativity and the sharing, and I wanted to be a part of this wonderful community. I was also very much encouraged by my husband to start up my blog and show off my crafts.

How did you choose what to blog about?

I was originally going to only blog about scrapbooking and card making, but the more I thought about it, I realized that I would be leaving out so many of my other crafty pursuits. So I decided to include my crochet projects, my sewing projects, some home decor things...making my blog a place for all things crafty.

What is something most people don't know about you?

I took German language classes for 13 years. I don’t speak German very well despite this, but can understand when others are talking.
I have a Health Studies degree with a minor in Gerontology.
I love being at home and pottering around.

What three words describe your style?

Creative, Planner, Simple

What do you love to do when you are not blogging?

When I am not blogging I love to work in my garden, bake, cook, and spend time with my family. And of course I always have a craft project or four in the works.

And now I send these questions to these five bloggers:

Michelle @
Betty @
Julie @
Mary @
Kate @

I look forward to learning a little more about these ladies. Thanks again for the nomination Katie.

Monday 19 May 2014

On the Dock

The challenge this week over at The Memory Nest features a sketch designed by Leslie, owner and operator of The Memory Nest. And it is an awesome sketch, I just loved working with this one.
I used a photo that was taken last year at my in-laws house on the lake. Everyone was sitting on the dock and enjoying what was an absolutely gorgeous summer day. Feet in the water, smiles on everyone’s faces, a gentle breeze blowing....a perfect day.
This sketch allowed me to use a lot of different patterned papers which of course I loved. I also love all the space on this page which keeps the focus on the picture.
Great sketch Leslie! This was the first sketch she designed for the team to work with and it is a great one. Go see what everyone else created here.

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Craftiness Here and There

I love the idea of a handmade home – little bits of handmade craftiness here and there. To me it says cozy and soft, love and happiness, and it adds something unique and personal to a home that cannot be found anywhere else.

Of course some of my larger projects, like my Garden Patch Granny Afghan and my Granny Cushion have accomplished this, adding a very personal and homespun look to my home, but lately I have added a few more small handmade touches.

This layered fabric flower is attached to the little cork board I have sitting on the dresser in my kitchen. It doesn't do anything but look pretty, but that is enough for me.
I made another crochet basket, this time to hold all the tea light candles in the bathroom cupboard. A plastic bag or container would have worked just as well, but I think this looks much prettier.
And with some leftover fabric from making pillows for the patio, I made this bunting. Once the weather turns and stays warm, I am going to hang this either in the tree or along the fence in the backyard to bring a little craftiness outside. I am excited to see how it looks.
What craftiness have you added to your home lately?

Monday 12 May 2014

Handmade Mother's Day

This year I decided to make Mother’s Day presents for my Mom and my Oma. In years past I have racked my brain on what to buy them for this occasion and admittedly it has been difficult, some gifts have been better than others. So I decided to go handmade this year. Since I am now working full time, my afternoon craft time has disappeared. I have mourned this loss considerably, but I have found that if I am intentional with my time after the girls are in bed, I can get loads of crafting done. 

So in the evenings, which thankfully stay lighter longer these days, I made these gifts. And it was wonderful.

This peg bag is for my Mom. She loves to do laundry and to hang it outside on the clothes line. At first I thought I was going a little overboard with the pretty fabric and the eyelet trim, but what the heck.  Why shouldn’t everyday useful objects be pretty? The pattern for the peg bag can be found here
These crochet coasters are for my Oma. Pretty, floral, crochet coasters for her to set her coffee cup on. The pattern for these can be found in this book.
I was excited to give these gifts, and my special ladies were happy to have them.

Friday 9 May 2014

A Blogging Award for Crafty Cucumber

I am very excited to tell you that I have been awarded a Liebster Award from the lovely Julie who blogs about her life and her crafts at Julie's Lifestyle. I really appreciate all the comments and support that I have received from Julie and am so humbled that she would recognize my little blog with this award. Thank you Julie.

The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It is a way to bring attention to these blogs and build the blogging community. The meaning of Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. How nice is that?

As a recipient of this award I need to do the following:
  1. List 11 random facts about myself.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the awarding blogger has asked me.
  3. Nominate 11 bloggers (with less than 200 followers) for the award and link to them in my post.
  4. Create 11 questions the nominated bloggers have to answer.
  5. Let the nominated bloggers know they have been nominated.
(These are the requirements for the people whom I nominate as well)

Sounds like fun, so let’s get started.

Random Facts About Me (Rachel):
  1. I love to crochet, scrapbook, make cards, sew. Basically, I love to make things.
  2. I love drinking coffee, especially out of a pretty mug.
  3. I do not like dogs. I realize this makes weird as so many people love dogs, but so be it - the cheese stands alone.
  4. I played field hockey when I was in high school. So much fun, but so many injuries.
  5. I have a lot of grey hair – sometimes this bothers me and sometimes I don’t really care too much.
  6. I have been married for over ten years.
  7. I love listening to country music. And dancing to it too.
  8. I love the ocean – the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, the salty air.
  9. I hibernate in the winter but spend as much time as I can outside in the summer.
  10. I have seen Bon Jovi in concert four times.
  11. I love gardening. 
Here are my answers to the questions that Julie asked me:
  1. What do you have planned for the summer? This is the first summer in seven years that I will be working full time (the last seven summers I have been home with my girls), so it is going to be a little different. We have a camping trip planned, are attending a family reunion, are leaving some time free to just hang out in the backyard or visit the park, and have ambitious plans for our garden. 
  2. What is your favorite outdoor activity? Biking and Gardening.
  3. What is your favorite indoor activity? Crafting – crochet, scrapbooking, sewing. 
  4. What is your favorite season? Spring and Autumn.
  5. Why did you decide to blog? I was at home with my two girls (who were quite young at the time) and I needed something that was all mine, something that I could get totally absorbed in. I also wanted to join the blogging community – I was so excited by all the sharing that was going on that I just needed to be a part of it and share all the crafts that I was doing.
  6. How did you pick the name of your blog? I am not sure. It just came to me, I liked the sound of it, so I went with it. 
  7. What is your favorite dinner? Soup and crusty bread.
  8. What is your favorite drink? Coffee, followed closely by Somersby Apple Cider.
  9. If you could travel to anywhere in the world where would it be? Europe.
  10. Do you like to wear makeup or no makeup? No makeup.
  11. Do you like dressing up or wearing casual clothes? Both. Some days I am okay with comfy pants and a t-shirt and other days I want to put a little more effort in. It all depends on the day.
I nominate the following blogs:

And ladies, here are my 11 questions for you:
  1. What was the last book you read?
  2. Describe your perfect day?
  3. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  4. What is on your nightstand?
  5. Early riser or night owl?
  6. Coffee or tea?
  7. You wake up to a rainy day, what do you do?
  8. You wake up to a sunny day, what do you do?
  9. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
  10. What was the biggest surprise of your life?
  11. Favorite animal?
For those of you who I have nominated, I really hope you accept and participate. This is such a fun way to spread the word about different blogs and learn a little about the bloggers themselves. Please leave a link in the comments if you do participate so that I can read your answers to my questions.

Thanks again Julie for the award. Much appreciated.

Monday 5 May 2014

Sweet, Happy, Fun

Time for another Sketch Challenge at The Memory Nest
This sketch inspired me to make a card rather than a layout. It is always fun to adapt a 12x12 sketch to a smaller, card-sized canvas.

This is what I created:
Look at all those patterned papers – beautiful.
I used paper from  the Sweet Girl line by Echo Park, same as I did for this layout.

Want to see what the other members of the Design Team were inspired to create with this sketch? Stop by The Memory Nest today to see their work, which is never short of incredible and inspiring. 

Friday 2 May 2014

Three is a Crowd....

And I am happy to have this crowd standing on my dresser.
The pattern for all three dolls is available for free here.

I made the red one back in the winter and showed him to you here. I wasn't going to make the other two, but my girls were insistent that I had to finish the set. 

Monday was my day off from work and I put the finishing touches on the large purple doll while I sipped a coffee in the afternoon.

I am quite happy that I allowed myself to be persuaded, that I finished these dolls.
They are winter dolls – the snowflakes on their hats and dresses gives that away – but I will leave them on the dresser for a while before I pack them away in favor of more seasonal decorations.  

I have a few other small crochet projects in the works which I hope to show you soon. And then I want to find a bigger project to work on. 

What are you crocheting?