Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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How to Assemble Sugar Candy Skull Scarves

Black skull scarf with pink flowers

Black skull scarf with pink flowers

Several years ago I made a few scarves incorporating my Sugar Candy Skull Motif pattern with flower motifs. I ended up with two scarf styles: one pairs black skulls with 3-D red or pink rose motifs, the other pairs white skulls with a colorful, lacy flower pattern.

Over the years, people have often asked me how to make these scarves and finally I think I am able to present a pattern of sorts. If you are interested in making a Sugar Candy Skull Scarf of your own, here I will provide links to the patterns you will need to make the motifs, instructions on how to arrange your motifs, and a video tutorial on how to join these motifs using a simple whip stitch. Continue reading

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Crochet Calavera Flowers

Calavera Flower Crochet MotifMy favorite moment every year is that first morning when you can begin to feel fall in the air. I was lucky enough to catch the chill early this morning and it was exhilarating. My head began to fill with ideas for crochet hats and scarves, mittens and socks. Yippee!

It made me think of the scarves I designed for Day of the Dead several years ago. I remember crocheting skulls and flower motifs everywhere I went for months before finally sewing them together to create Sugar Candy Skull scarves. 

A friend of the picnic asked me for the pattern for the flower motif I had used in these scarves, and I was genuinely surprised that in three years I have never gotten around to giving it to you. Well better late than never, here it is! I hope that I will be able to find some time this fall to crochet one.

Because all the pieces are small this is a great project for traveling and for using up leftover yarn. Enjoy! Continue reading


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Countdown to Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos is almost a week away! To say I have been busy getting ready for the event is an understatement. I don’t know quite why I do this, but as I’m sure you’ve observed from my previous crochet projects here on the blog, I have a very distinct tendency to overdo things. I blame my imagination. Once I get something in my head, I just have to create it. So in preparation for this upcoming Dia de los Muertos Mart at the Pirate Gallery, I have been crocheting like crazy. Let me show you.

I’m calling these Skullbow (Skull + Elbow) Hoodies. I crocheted the skulls, of course, sewed them onto the sleeves like elbow patches, and even embellished some of them with beads. Nothing in my studio is safe from embellishment at this point.

Like I said, I’ve really gotten into adding buttons, beads, and embroidery to these skulls. I ended up making five Skull Art Hoodies and I love each one. I hope you like them too!

Then, because I just couldn’t stop myself, I made four more hoodies with plain white skulls on the back. Each will come with a large, very colorful flower pin on the skull’s forehead, and shoppers will be encouraged to purchase additional flower pins to really personalize their hoodie if they want. Crochet flower pinsAs you can see, I made a ton. Some of these flowers will be for the pins, but I’m also making hair clips too. I have been crocheting these everywhere I go: you know, on the bus, on my lunch break, in line at the grocery store. The problem is I just keep coming up with more ideas and I have to try them all! Most of these flowers were made using the patterns in my favorite flower crochet book, 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet. The marigolds were made using the mum pattern from Suzann Thompson’s Crochet Garden. Bamboo crochet hooksI was crocheting so much this month that some interesting things started happening to me. Things that have never happened before… First, I got a rash on my hand. (I’ll spare you the picture; just trust me, it’s weird.) I couldn’t figure out what was causing it, until I realized that my crochet hooks, which I’ve had since I began crocheting 15 years ago, are nickel-plated. And earlier this year, I developed a crummy nickel allergy. The upside of this crochet-related injury is that I get to try out some new hooks. I got these bamboo ones from Amazon for $10. Score! Also for the first time I’m beginning to experience serious muscle pain in my fingers. After this, it may be time for a (hopefully short!) vacation from crochet. Hodge and Podge are madThis coming week will be just as busy I’m afraid, as I set about the task of organizing and pricing everything. As you can see, Hodge and Podge are not happy about this. In all the flurry of activity for the Muertos Mart, I didn’t get a chance to make their Halloween costumes. My sincere apologies to you and Hodge and Podge. I know many of you were looking forward to Halloween costume patterns for your squirrel friends. Maybe after my crochet vacation I can get started on Christmas costumes instead. How about Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel Claus? MEAP could be an elf. Eric could be the Grinch. What do ya say?

 


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Up to My Eyeballs in Color

Rocky Mountain National Park 1 Rocky Mountain National Park 2 Rocky Mountain National Park 3 Rocky Mountain National Park Aspen Chihuly Denver Botanic Gardens 2 Chihuly Denver Botanic Gardens 1 Chihuly Denver Botanic Gardens 3 Denver Botanic Gardens October 2014 Olivarez_Sugar Candy Skull

My parents came to visit us from Virginia this past week and what a whirlwind adventure we had. We went to the Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Air Force vs. Navy college football game in Colorado Springs, and up to the mountains to visit Georgetown, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Estes Park. When we weren’t off exploring, I was working on my Skullbow Art Hoodies for the Muertos Mart. From Chihuly’s vibrant blown glass to the golden aspen leaves to the work I am doing on these very colorful calavera appliques, I feel like I’m up to my eyeballs in color… and it feels pretty good.

Ever since my friend, Sylvie, told me I should crochet flower pins to adorn my larger skull appliques (isn’t that a great idea!), I have been sketching and brainstorming and playing with yarn and color to come up with some fun designs. I finished my first skull this week, embellishing it with beads, buttons, embroidery, and crochet flowers. These skulls are sewn to the backs of the hoodies to create a real statement piece. For the colors, I’ve been choosing beads and buttons first and then letting them direct the yarn colors I use. It’s been a challenge for some reason, but the Ideas Man has been at my side every step of the way with his solid advice.

I know that I promised you I would release some Hodge & Podge squirrel costume patterns for Halloween this year. I will try to get them out soon, but I hope you will understand if there is a bit of a delay. In addition to my hoodies, we’ve got a Charm Exchange coming up too. I better get back to work. Have a great week everyone!


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A New Sugar Candy Skull Crochet Pattern for You… This one’s big!

Large Skull Crochet Pattern by Squirrel PicnicIt’s hard to believe that it’s October already. Halloween and Day of the Dead will be here before we know it, so I wanted to get this larger skull pattern ready for you to use. Well, that’s not entirely true… I designed it for my own use too. You see I’m using them on some of the items I’ll be selling at the Pirate Gallery’s Celebration of Dia de los Muertos. Pirate has been hosting this vibrant festival for the last 30 years! This will be my second year to attend and I’m so excited that I get to be a part of it. This year I’m selling hoodies with small crochet skulls on the elbows, like elbow patches. I’m calling them Skullbows. You may have seen photos of them in the small skull pattern post. I’ll also embroider and embellish larger skulls, like the one featured here, with beads and sew them to the backs of other hoodies. The festival will be held on November 1, so I better get to work!

Right now, my bed/craft room is buried in boxes of hoodies and yarn and beads. I’d show you a picture, but I’ve lost my camera somewhere under there. In fact, if you don’t hear from me for a week or two, don’t despair. It just means I’m buried amongst the piles and I’ll be working my way out shortly.

I’ll be sure to share photos of all my preparations for Muertos Mart as we get a little closer. In the meantime, enjoy crocheting some large and small sugar candy skulls! Continue reading


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Sugar Candy Skull Crochet Pattern

Candy skull coin purse

Sugar skulls and many other forms of calavera are a popular feature of Day of the Dead celebrations throughout the world. Traditionally, these skulls are made of cane sugar that is molded in one piece and then decorated with line art, flowers, and often the name of a deceased loved one as a way of honoring them.

I drew inspiration from these designs to crochet my own version of the sugar skull. The pattern starts out with a fan to create the forehead, then you work on the opposite side to create the eyes, nose, cheeks and teeth. Within the PDF pattern, I’ve included a very detailed step-by-step photo tutorial to guide you along. It’s a lot of fun to embellish these motifs with beads, embroidery, and crochet flowers to really make them look like sugar candy skulls.

Squirrel Picnic Crochet Skull AppliquesEmbellished or just plain, I’ve found so many uses for these skulls. I’ve worked them into scarves, using floral motifs in between each skull. I made a small coin purse (pictured above) by sewing the bottom half of two skulls together and adding a lining and metal clasp. They also make fantastic appliques. They look great on just about anything! Sew them to pillows, bags, scarves, hats, mittens, and jeans. Sew them to your pockets for an original and fun look. But by far my favorite use for them has been as elbow patches on hoodies. It’s so easy to do, and it creates a garment that will definitely get people’s attention.

Check out photos of all these projects at the end of this post. And download the free pattern below to give yourself a great head start on your Halloween and Dia de los Muertos preparations.

Sugar Candy Skull Crochet Pattern

Continue reading


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Recordando a familiares y amigos, Día de los muertos

Muertos Mart

In Mexico, the Southwest U.S., and around the world in other cultures, Day of the Dead (Día de los muertos) is celebrated from October 31 through November 2. With Aztec roots, the holiday celebrates death as a rite of passage, just another step in the circle of life. It is a time to remember and honor family and friends who are deceased and take a moment to reflect on our own mortality.

You can take part in the festivities too with these vibrant traditions:

Build an alter to your loved ones.

Paint your face with calavera makeup.

Make sugar candy skulls.

Decorate your loved one’s grave and have a picnic.

Celebrate with others at a Day of the Dead festival, such as…

The Día de los Muertos Mart at the Pirate Gallery in Denver on Saturday, November 2.  From 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.

There will be a big opening reception with piñatas for adults and children, a candlelight procession, and Aztec dancers.

Your very own Squirrel Picnic will also be in attendance at this year’s mart! I’ll be there with Hodge and Podge (in their costumes), selling sugar skull scarves and appliqués I designed and crocheted. I’m looking forward to meeting some really cool people and sharing the wonders of Squirrel Picnic with them.

If you find yourself in the Denver area this weekend, stop on by. There will be jewelry by Sylvie of Deviled Eggs Designs and Ranee of Autumn Moon. Annie will offer her deliciously detailed fiber art. Trish will sell her wicked aprons (I’ll be wearing mine!). And much, much more!

Skull Scarves and Appliqués by Squirrel Picnic

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