Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff

You Know You’re a Crafter When Your Christmas Starts in August


Whenever the kids go back to school and summer begins to wind down, a little alarm goes off in my brain telling me I better get to crafting if I want to have Christmas presents ready for my family and friends. If you’re anything like me, you’ve already started thinking about what to make for everyone.

I probably would’ve just done the same old thing—you know, knit or crochet as many hats, scarves, toys, or pairs of socks and mittens as time will allow—but this year, I found a book that has really inspired me to try something different.

Back in March, I was visiting one of my favorite craft sites (and a second home of sorts for Squirrel Picnic patterns and tutorials), Cut Out + Keep, when I noticed that the site’s founders, Cat Morley and Tom Waddington, had come out with a new book. In 2011, this adventurous couple departed their home in Scotland to take a tour of the US. Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects was the brilliant result. Inspired by everything they saw and experienced on their journey, they created this book to showcase their stories from the road and an original craft project for each state they visited.

CO and K Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects

Having lived in or visited every state in the continental US, I was very intrigued to hear what they would think of my homeland. And they did not disappoint! They experienced the whimsical side of the United States. The things they saw and did make me want to trace their steps and visit all the same places.

CO+K Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects Maine

They stayed in the quirkiest hotels, like a cottage shaped like a beagle at the Dog Bark Park in Idaho, a train caboose in California, and a treehouse in Oregon. They ate some interesting things like fried pickles in New Jersey, poutine in Vermont, and a pretzel milkshake in Maine. They took pictures with Mr. Potato Head, Bob’s Big Boy, Ben & Jerry’s, a giant prairie dog, a giant Marilyn Monroe, and Smokey the Bear.

When I asked Cat about her trip, she said, “I was most inspired by Savannah, Georgia and the whole of Louisiana. I loved the Spanish moss hanging from the trees, swamps and bayous and gorgeous French architecture. We slept in a cabin on an alligator filled swamp and it was so exciting and inspiring, like being in a real horror film. Tom loved Omaha, Nebraska—so many friendly people doing inspiring things!”

I can tell they enjoyed Nebraska because the crochet pattern inspired by their visit is so clever and absolutely adorable. I have a friend who loves popcorn, so this year I want to make her a Popcorn Plushie with Cat’s pattern. See how it goes from corncob to popcorn faster than it takes to pop a bag in the microwave!

CO+K Corncob to Popcorn Plushie Tutorial

As a source of Christmas present inspiration, this book can’t be beat! If your family and friends are scattered across the US, you could use the pattern that Cat created for the state they live in or the state they most long to visit. If your life is populated by quirky people like mine is, you’ll find plenty of inspiration in these pages. I’d love to make the Wanted Sign Mirror for my little brother. My mom would die if I gave her Moonshine Perfume, and I know my dad needs a Vacationland Passport Holder. Now that I’m working for the Geological Society of America, I’m thinking that my coworkers might get a kick out of the Gemstone Soaps.

CO+K Gemstone Soap Tutorial

The bag shaped like a rock guitar would impress any music lover, while I can see the Sasquatch Boots being a bit hit in the college dorms. If baking cookies is more your thing, I suggest adding Cat’s Bacon-Bit Pralines to your Christmas assortment this year.

But my favorite project by far is the Jackalope Jewelry Holder. In the book, Cat and Tom point out that while they were in Wyoming, one of the locals told them the origin story of the jackalope. Are you ready for this huge secret? They made it up to play tricks on the tourists. I plan to make one for myself… and everyone I know.

CO+K Jackalope Jewelry Holder Tutorial

And what would Cat make for Christmas? “The gemstone soaps would make a great stocking stuffer,” she says, “but I’d love to make someone the Furry Bear Hood, it’s so cosy and perfect for winter.”

CO+K Fuzzy Bear Hood Tutorial

With so many fun presents to make, I better get started! Good thing it’s just the end of August.

Here are some other books I’ll be using this Christmas for patterns, tutorials, and inspiration to make this the craftiest Christmas yet!

Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects from Crocheters around the World

Fa la la la Felt: 45 Handmade Holiday Decorations

50 Knitted Gifts for Year-Round Giving

Simply Modern Christmas: Fresh Quilting Patterns for the Holidays


17 thoughts on “You Know You’re a Crafter When Your Christmas Starts in August

  1. You are not alone,me too,I’m already making the Christmas presents for my family and friends!! And this book is fantastic indeed!!! So many ideas and so original too !! Simply gorgeous!

    • Yay! This is my favorite time of year. The weather starts to cool down and it’s time to start knitting and crocheting for family and friends. So much to love about it. I can’t wait to see what you create this year!

      • I agree with you! I couldn’t wait to start knitting for Christmas. I’ll try to FO my presents as soon as possible because I’d like to make something for me too with the beautiful alpaca yarn you sent me 🙂 I have found some mustard yarn to combine with it and can’t wait to start this project!

  2. Okay, this is where I admit that I have been making Christmas presents since January!! I wanted to make as many gifts as I could this year and was determined not to have the last minute rush I had last year and with over sixty to buy/make for I am glad I did 🙂

    • Sharon! You’re amazing! I am so impressed. I think you are my hero. I always start out the new year with these grand plans of making everything for next year, but life always gets in the way. You are proof that it is possible. Thanks for being an inspiration!

  3. I thought I would still have plenty of time for the Christmas presents, but no – only a few months are left this year and time is running fast when you crochet or make presents for friends and family.The book is great and I will now look at the other books to get some inspiration. Thanks, it is really time to start now. Every year I’m like the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland: I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date 🙂

    • I can totally sympathize. There’s never enough time! I will be trying to take it one step at a time and not get too stressed or worried about it. Just do what I can do. Best of luck in your Christmas crafting! I’ll be cheering you on!

  4. Every year I PROMISE myself I WONT wait until the last minute and every year I am up all Christmas Eve “finishing things” LOL!
    This year I plan to post some yarn so I better hurry up. What a great book! ❤

  5. Pingback: Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #3 Days to be kept holy or set apart | Free Christadelphians: Belgian Ecclesia Brussel - Leuven

  6. Isn’t that a great book? It makes me want to craft and travel, all at the same time. Congrats on your craft room feature on Cut Out and Keep as well! 🙂