Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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In a Nutshell: News from the Picnic

Here in Colorado, summer is breezing along. It’s been a summer of exploration, discovery, and reflection.

Denali seen from TalkeetnaEarly on, I did some traveling. In June, my father and I went on a trip together to Alaska, just the two of us. It was the trip of a lifetime. We flew around Denali in a Cesna, took a jet boat up the Susitna to Devil’s Canyon Gorge, watched the Aialik Glacier calve into the bay in Kenai Fjords National Park, and hitched a ride with the sled dogs at Seavey’s Iditarod Tours in Seward. We saw moose, black bear, bald eagles, bighorn sheep, puffins, porpoises, sea lions, otters, and humpback whales!

Then earlier this month, Shelby and I, along with his dad and his dad’s girlfriend Dottie, road the Cumbres-Toltec train from New Mexico to Colorado. The route is full of switchbacks and turns around some beautiful country and steep mountain cliffs. Returning from these outdoor adventures, I have been keen to get outside as much as possible to enjoy Colorado nature, but to tell you the truth, it’s been just too darn hot. In the end, it all worked out because I have a lot of crocheting and designing to do, which I like just as much as being outside!

Some incredible things have been going on at the picnic. Regarding the book, there have been interviews and I’ve received some help getting the book into stores. It’s still a challenge, but I’m happy to make progress by baby steps. In other news, I’ve been hard at work on some new designs and some special plans. Here’s what I’ve been up to: Continue reading

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Big Acorn Race Update: The Book Is Here!

Visit Amazon.com to get your copy of The Big Acorn Race by Jennifer Olivarez

The day has finally arrived! Can you even believe it? I’m still having to pinch myself every time I look at the press proof I received just two days ago. Hodge, Podge, Eric, and all the fatimals are very pleased with the results and I think you will be too.

Get your copy of The Big Acorn Race on Amazon (and other online retailers)!

In addition to Amazon.com in the US, The Big Acorn Race is also available on Amazon’s European websites including Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, and Amazon.es.

I embarked on this journey a little over a year ago, but I had the idea for the book in my back pocket for a few years before I was ready to commit to it. And for as long as I can remember I have wanted to publish a book. This is a dream come true!

I must say it was a lot of hard work to make this 76-page, full-color story and pattern book a reality. The whole thing is crochet, so for all of 2015 if I wasn’t photographing or writing (or working at my day job), I had a crochet hook in my hand. This book is also the result of the hard work of many other talented people. First and foremost, the talented artist and designer Sylvie Abecassis poured so much of her time and heart into these pages. I am forever indebted to her for everything she did to make this book a marvel of color and whimsy. Thanks to my brilliant pattern testers for trying out the patterns and providing thoughtful insights: Patricia Castillo, Vanja Grundmann, Sharon Pridmore, Tajana Rabar, Grace Watts, and Kate Zaynard. My dear friend Ranée Kahler helped me with photo editing and all around provided her wonderful support. Becky Milanski, Kate Zaynard, Ingrid Heffner, and Becky McKay proofread the book in its final stages and advised me on all things editorial. My husband Shelby put up with me, sacrificed holidays and travel, and encouraged me to keep going whenever I wanted to give up. Thanks also to every one of you who have walked beside me and offered your ideas and support. You’ll never know how much it has meant to me.

It has been a wonderful, exciting, fulfilling, stressful, exhausting, beautiful adventure. I’d do it all again… but after a nap. The only thing that’s left is for me to take a step back and send it off into the world. If you pick up a copy (thank you!), I’d love to hear what you think. Customer reviews on Amazon will help create a successful launch, so I encourage you to leave your feedback there. I hope you enjoy The Big Acorn Race.

Follow my journey from concept to publication in these blog posts:

Picnic Photo Shoot with Your Favorite Squirrel Friends

Interview with the Author

Nearing the Finish Line

Roadblocks and Speed Bumps

Podge’s Garden

See How Podge’s Flowers Grow!

Crocheting the Story

Time to Test the Patterns

New Beginnings

Tall ‘n’ Fast Flowers

We’ve Got a Cover!

Oak Leaves and Acorns

Getting My Squirrels in a Row

Backgrounds and Foregrounds

The Journey Begins


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Two Little Country Squirrels in the Big City: Squirrel Picnic Visits NYC

This past weekend, Hodge and Podge and I flew to New York City to explore, get inspired, catch up with old friends, and make some new ones too.

Hodge and Podge in Times Square Continue reading


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Hodge & Podge No. 3

Hodge: What in the world happened to your tail?

Podge: There was this one hair that wouldn’t go straight so I thought I’d just trim it off. But then that made these other hairs look funny, so I trimmed them too. That made my whole tail all uneven, so I cut a little more… But it doesn’t look that bad, right?

Hodge & Podge No. 3


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Things Are Blooming at Squirrel Picnic

You may have noticed the new spring diorama grants us a rare look through a garden of crocheted flowers onto Hodge and Podge enjoying a picnic. It will be an ongoing project throughout this spring and summer to update, revise, amend, and polish it. By the end of the summer, I’m hoping that every item in the diorama will be knit or crochet. Keep checking in each month to see how it’s changing. I’m planning on adding birds, butterflies, and a few more flowers. What else do you think I should add?

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