Amineko!

It began two weeks before Christmas with a panicked message from a friend.

There was a crochet emergency!

She bought this book:

Basically, it’s a story book with a crochet pattern for the feline character, Amineko (Japanese, meaning crochet cat). It’s absolutely adorable and her nephews love it. She wanted to surprise them with Amineko dolls for Christmas but her skills were a little rusty and she wasn’t sure about the instructions. Plus, time was running out.

I knew I could give her a refresher on crochet basics, but I wasn’t sure how helpful I’d be deciphering the pattern. Instructions aren’t really my thing. I’m much more inclined to create my own pattern, rather than summon the patience to interpret someone else’s. I figured between the two of us, we’d figure it out though.

As soon as I could, I stopped by her house with my yarn and hooks. The only way I could explain the pattern to my friend was to actually make an Amineko along with her and I also intended to give mine as a gift.

She was an excellent student and the pattern was pretty straightforward. By the time I left her house that night, we’d made considerable progress.

Still, time was not on our side. When we parted ways at the end of our second crochet marathon, two days before Christmas, we were still several limbs and appendages short.

Between last minute gift wrapping, food making, and other Christmas preparations, I managed to finish the necessary pieces. Then, just after breakfast, Christmas morning, it was stuffed and assembled.

Finally, the Amineko was wrapped up to be opened later that day by our niece.

That concludes my holiday toy making adventure. Now I know how it feels to be a elf at the north pole!

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Boa

After my last craft related post called sweater pillow, Jeremy pointed out that my title is actually a euphemism for boobs. According to the <a “href=http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=sweater%20pillows”>Urban Dictionary, he’s right. So, if your Google query brought you here in search of breasts, I’m really sorry to have misled you.

Might I interest you a crochet project though?

I just finished this boa scarf and with winter just around the corner, I thought this would be a good time to share the pattern.

This is not a scarf for just being fashionable, although it is cute. This is a cold weather scarf. It’s for the kind of day when your breath stops short when you walk outside and the frigid air fills your lungs. It’s for day when you sit in your car shivering, as you optimistically hold and twist the key in the ignition, coaxing your reluctant engine to turn over in the grey morning light.

This is a scarf for the most dismal days of the long winter.

It’s also a great scarf for anyone new to crochet. It looks fancy, but the pattern is actually incredibly simple.

You’ll need 3 balls of medium weight yarn and a size 6 crochet hook.

Chain 135. This makes the finished product about 48 inches. You can chain more or less for a longer or shorter scarf. It’s up to you.

Row 1
Dc in 4th chain. Continue with 1 dc in each chain. Work 6 dc in last chain to turn, then dc once in each chain on the other side. Work 6 dc in last chain. Join with sl.

Rows 2 to 4
Chain three and work 2 dc in first stitch, then and continue working 2 dc in each stitch until you get back to the beginning. Repeat for rows 3 and 4.

Stay warm, my friends.

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Washing Grains

Last year, I replaced my VO5 Hot Oil Treatment with olive oil. Since then, I’ve been thinking about some other products I’d once used, but have long forgotten.

Back when I was in high school, I loved The Body Shop. I still do, actually.
In the early 1990s, they had a product called Japanese Washing Grains. It was a grainy powder that could be used with a little bit of soap to exfoliate your skin. If I recall correctly, the suggested regiment also involved elderflower toner and cucumber moisturizer. I’m not sure when I stopped using these products but I suspect they became too expensive when I went away to University. When I moved away from home, I had to make room in my limited budget for more important things – like beer…err, I mean, books. Ya, that’s it, books.

I wanted to revisit the Japanese Washing Grains because I remember how much I once loved them. Apparently, they were simply ground rice and adzuki beans and the effect was similar to the microdermabrasion products that have been popular in recent years.

The Body Shop does carry a product similar to my old favorite. It comes in a 4 ounce jar, and retails for $22.00, plus tax. That just seems like a lot to me for a half cup of beans and rice. After a visit to the bulk barn, I discovered a scoopful of adzuki beans can be purchased for only $1.50.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

Using an old coffee grinder, I keep around for projects like this; I ground up a few handfuls of dry beans and rice and put it in a jar.

This container holds just over 8 ounces of grains. My University degree was neither in math nor business, but it certainly doesn’t take a financial expert to figure this one out.

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