Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff

Big Acorn Race Update: Backgrounds and Foregrounds


The first full month of work on Squirrel Picnic’s Big Acorn Race is ending, and I am pleased to say that progress has been made. My main goal for this month was to make the backgrounds for the main set for the scenes in the book. As you may recall, the objective is for everything in the book to be crocheted, including the grass and sky.

To add textural variety, I chose two different stitch patterns for the backgrounds. For the sky, I chose a simple Star Stitch pattern that would give a flat texture without creating distinct rows. For the grass, I chose another simple stitch pattern called the Cobble Stitch or Griddle Stitch, which alternates single crochet and double crochet stitches to create a bumpy texture, like clumps of grass.

Two Stitch Patterns

The Star Stitch on the left creates a nice textural contrast to the Cobble Stitch on the right.

Crocheting these backgrounds was not only time consuming but tedious. Each one took over ten hours. I’m really glad I chose to do them first and get them out of the way. Now I can’t wait to start on the other, more interesting parts of the set! In fact, I’ve already started crocheting the trees. Follow me on Instagram to see my progress.

Hodge and Podge by Squirrel Picnic

Hodge and Podge pose in front of the new background for their first book.

Hodge and Podge Get Talkative

The day after I announced March 3, 2016, as the book’s release date, it donned on me that I could do a better job of sharing with the world the two little squirrels who are both the book’s main characters and the mascots of this blog — Hodge and Podge.

I needed to bring these guys to the foreground and what better way than making more clothes and accessories to dress them up in. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now. I love designing stuff for our squirrel friends, and I hope you enjoy making them for your squirrels too! In case you missed it, we kicked off St. Patrick’s Day 2015 with a pattern for a leprechaun hat. Hodge and Podge had a St. Patrick’s Day to remember. They ate tons of pistachios and left little green poops all over the place.

St Patricks Day Leprechaun Hat by Squirrel Picnic 3

To further help you get to know these little guys better (and after that visual, who wouldn’t want to?), I also started new weekly features called Hodge Says and Podge Says, which I will post each Wednesday.

Photography Setup

It’s not glamorous, but this is where the magic happens: in a light tent on my single bed surrounded by lights.

Every day, one of the squirrels gets to come with me to work in Boulder, and on the weekend, one of them will accompany me wherever the day leads. Whenever a photo opportunity arises, Hodge and Podge are always ready to mug for the camera. Having them around has helped me to explore the Denver-Boulder area, as we seek out new and exciting things to photograph. I plan to take them on all my travels. Together we’ll see the world!

It’s funny, Hodge and Podge have a lot to say about the places and things we see, but their opinions aren’t always that insightful – sometimes they’re just downright silly. They make me laugh, and I hope you giggle too while learning more about them and where we live.

Never Stop Learning

Speaking of learning, I’m really excited about one of my goals for April. I purchased a few new additions to my photography setup: two light diffuser umbrellas with stands to help illuminate the front of my sets and another tabletop stand to light the set from the back. I also purchased a book about lighting for photography that I think is already improving the photographs I’m taking for the blog.

I want to learn more about depth of field as well. The scenes in this book will contain a lot of detail and I intend for every bit of it to be in crystal clear focus for you to enjoy. So the plan is to practice, practice, practice my photography skills this month. Wish me luck!


11 thoughts on “Big Acorn Race Update: Backgrounds and Foregrounds

  1. I really hope all goes well with the photography learning. Your photos are already great. I think I could do with rather a lot of practice myself! I am looking forward to seeing your scenes progress. Sharon x

  2. I love so much your enthusiasm,Jennifer!!! You teach me to love life and small precious things!! How gorgeous is that!! Well done for the background, the grass and the sky look superbe! I’d like to make something with the star stitch,maybe a dish towel… I see it so perfect in my kitchen!

  3. Thoroughly enjoying along with you, Hodge and Podge. Luck, Luck and more Luck. XXX

  4. I really look forward to reading all about your journeys with Hodge and Podge over the weeks – and the progress with your lighting schemes, too 🙂