52 Project: 39/52

IMG_5859.JPGAutumn is being a tease in the city.  We’ll have a few days of cool temperatures, and gorgeous chilly nights, and then it will turn around with a weekend like this past weekend. In the 80’s, a teensy bit humid, hot. The good news is that I’m starting to see the first little signs of the season’s change: a blush of red in the trees, leaves collecting on the ground, purple autumn flowers. Florrie says that the leaves at the Croakery are starting to turn. All we need down here is one good cold snap and it will quickly tumble downhill into color. I can’t wait. Yesterday I caught myself daydreaming about being home when it’s snowing. It nearly made me feel something similar to homesick.  lol Aren’t I a funny one?

Have a great week!

-Marie

Pick A Pop

The game making and decorating is now in full swing as the Halloween party draws nearer.

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This game is such a great combination:  children love candy, and children love games.This is easy and fairly cheap to make.

You will need;

A large sturdy plant pot.

A ruler.

A pencil.

A drill.

A  drill bit to match the diameter of the lolli stick

Spray paint.

Marker or stamp pad.

Lollipops, I used Dum-dums.

Acrylic frame

These are the measurements of my pot;

Top circumfrence 29 inches.

Bottom circumfrence 41 inches

Height 12 inches

You will need to adjust your measurements a little depending on your own pot.

Using the drainage holes on the bottom as a guide, line up the ruler. Put your first mark 1 1/4 inches from the bottom. Moving upwards keep marking  in increments of 1 1/4 inches.

From the original mark at the bottom work around the circumfrence marking every 4 inches. Once you have marked all the way round use these as a guide and begin marking vertically. Every 1 1/4 inches.

Using a mark along the bottom measure 2 inches and mark. Using this as a guide mark 1 inch from the bottom. Working veritcally meaure and mark in increments of 1 1/4 inches again. You are adding another coloumn of marks inbetween the first round. Repeat working around the pot.  Your holes will be staggered from the first go-round.

Mark the spot.

Mark the spot.

Mark the bottom of the pot too. I did this ramdomly, and eyeballed the spacing to be similar to that on the sides.

The difficult part is over.

Using a drill bit that is slightly bigger in diameter than the lolli sticks, drill all the holes. Be careful not to force the drill or apply too much pressure as you run the risk og cracking the pot, and I’m sure you don’t want to mark a new one all over again. If you do split the pot all is not lost. After drilling and spray painting you can cover the hole with electrical tape. One piece on either side and poke a hole with a skewer.

Spray paint the pot the colour of your choice. I chose black beacuse this one is for Halloween and the Dum Dums really pop on this background.

This holds around 200 lollipops. I Selected about a fifth of that number to dip in ink to mark the bottoms.

Next fill up with lollipops, I had a very willing helper and it only cost me a couple of Dum Dums.

I covered a folding tray in a plastic Halloween tablecloth to sit the game on and printed up a sign with instructions how to play. I slid it into an acrylic frame and taped it to the table.

Its so much fun that I’m not sure that anyone will even care about not having a dip in the prize bag. Happy Halloween. -F

Postcards from Central Park

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I went for a walk on my lunch break this afternoon.  I’m extremely fortunate to work so close to Central Park. Half a block away, as a matter of fact, and I don’t take advantage of that fact nearly as often as I should.  Last night and today were really the first truely cold days here in the city. It was 42 degrees farenheit when I left for work this morning.  There was no one on my block and I could see my breath.  Magic.  I love cold weather, so at noon I trekked out from my little office and walked the south east corner of the park and took some pictures.

As I started my walk I passed the newly gold-leafed statue of General Sherman in Grand Army Plaza. The fingertips of Victory, striding in front of his horse, were just beginning to glint in the sunshine. By the time I had made my way back around the entire statue was blazing in the sun.  Its amazing the difference a little gold leaf makes.

City leaves tend to turn the slowest, and often go from green to crunchy brown overnight. But there were lots of pretty colors on display today. School kids sat on benches along the glacial rocks eating their lunches and kicking their dangling feet. Ancient, old money, Park Avenue ladies were out on their daily constitutional.  A man going on loudly about the Euro into cell phone walking his two yappity chiuahuahs. A smattering of tourists and business people.

The one thing I saw but didn’t get a picture of, was a funny grey squirrel mama carrying a fuzzy little baby squirrel (a little late in the season for babies, no?) in its mouth, the teeny squirrel’s tail wrapped around her nose as she scampered past, up the path toward a tree.  I was so perplexed by seeing it that I didn’t think to take a picture until it was too late. At first I thought the mama squirrel was carrying a rat, it is NYC afterall.  So cute, and so weird.

I hope you’re having a crisp, beautiful October Thursday, wherever you are.   -Marie

Autumn Leaves Lessons

In the years since I have published Autumn Leaves Scarflette, my very first attempt at knitting pattern writing, I have learned more than I could ever express in one blog post.

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I remember very clearly the night when I uploaded the original pattern. I was too chicken to charge any money for the download.  I imagined myself refunding money left and right if the pattern turned out to be awful.  I’ll never forget the pride and butterflies with which I uploaded my first PDF to Ravelry, and then the crushing disappointment when the negative reviews rolled in. Cringeworthy, yes. But its the reality of it, and I’m laughing at myself as I type this.

I seriously considered throwing in the towel and vowing to never publish again after reading comments like, “very poorly written pattern” and “full of mistakes”.

While those comments stung, they were absolutely not wrong.  My pattern was poorly written, and it was full of mistakes, and I had to face the facts.  One knitter commented in her project notes that she noticed row 29 had wandered off to have a lie-down. Looking back over the pattern it was true!  27, 28, 30… oh boy. How did I miss that? Though I did have quite a laugh at her phrasing.

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I came to a crossroads.  I could slink away with my tail between my legs, or I could learn from this feedback and plug on.  After a short pout, I got over myself, and looked at the pattern again with fresh eyes. I poured over patterns from designers that I admired to educate myself on what makes a great knitting pattern, but I craved more information.

I checked out a few local colleges to see if they offered courses in the type of knitting I was interested in learning.  I wanted to know more about pattern writing standards, and grading knitwear sizes, technical editing and clothing shaping techniques.  Color work and cables and how to write cable charts, and how to write knitting charts in general.

Being in NYC I figured these things would be a cinch to find. But boy I was wrong.  F.I.T., nope.  Pratt, no.  Even local yarn shops only had beginner and intermediate knitting classes, nothing for a budding designer.  I found a few books and blogs that were helpful, but my real saving grace was Craftsy.  They offer video classes in exactly what I was craving to know. I was able to shape my knitting education into exactly what I was looking for.  I think Ravelry is definitely my favorite knitting resource and my favorite platform from which to sell my work, but for instructional videos you can’t beat Craftsy. Plus they have a platform for indie designers like myself where they don’t take a cent. And that’s pretty cool.

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I’m still reading and knitting and frogging and watching videos, learning all the time.  I have revisited my Autumn Leaves pattern and tweaked it applying all the information I have gathered and now I feel that its finally the best version of itself.    I’m so pleased to be re-launching the pattern and I hope that you’ll knit one and let me know what you think. I can take it. I promise!

Download the pattern for FREE at Ravelry.

Autumn At The Croakery

Autumn has been blowing in the breeze for a few weeks now. I feel spoilt being able to watch the leaves change in the back garden of The Croakery.

Autumn at The CroakeryTaken on the 23rd September…….

Autumn leaves 5th Oct…Just two weeks later the vivid greens have all but gone

Autumn at The CroakeryOn 23rd September, Golden flecks of Autumn nestled amongst the green of summer past…

Autumn leaves 5th Oct…This shot on the 5th October shows a gold rush of leaves

Autumn at The CroakeryThe pond level has dropped a foot of so since this was taken

Autumn at The CroakeryThis tree was the first to begin it’s change, a branch dangles down, damaged last winter

Autumn at The CroakeryI love how the spectrum of Autumn colours can be seen in this one Maple

DSCF2881A late sunny days gives a glorious glow

DSCF2873Fallen leaves are one of my most favourite things about Autumn

Autumn at The CroakeryThe vast colour range on one little leaf leaves me in awe

Autumn at The CroakeryThey create a beautiful patterned rug on the grass

Autumn at The CroakeryThe Tiny Terror has an early appreciation of Autumn

Autumn at The CroakeryFire on the ground

Autumn at The CroakeryThe most beautiful objects really are found in natue

Autumn at The CroakeryBeneath the blanket of leaves, a little stream flows

Autumn at The CroakeryA golden carpet on the wood’s floor

Autumn at The CroakeryThe shadowy trunks will soon loose their camouflage

Autumn at The CroakeryThe compliments of red and green are even more stunning in nature

Autumn at The CroakeryEnjoying the crispy crunchy sounds of the leaves