Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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Announcing the Winner of the Instagram Giveaway

June 2016 Winner of Instagram Giveaway

Congratulations go out to @thequiltingdoberman!

You have won your very own copy of The Big Acorn Race. Please email squirrelpicnic(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address and I’ll pop your prize in the mail today.

In other news, did you know that you can now find The Big Acorn Race in Barnes & Noble (and wherever books are sold). I don’t know if that’s a big deal, but when I saw that the book had ventured beyond the realm of Amazon and out into the big wide world, it really gave me quite a thrill. It’s like watching it fly out of the nest. (Sorry, weird metaphor. How would I know what that’s like? I should’ve interviewed a bird before saying such a thing.)

We’re working hard on getting the book into yarn shops nationwide as well. I’ll keep you posted on where you can find these little squirrels and their adventure.

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The Big Acorn Race Instagram Giveaway

Big Acorn Race Giveaway for FB

Hodge and Podge and Eric want to give one lucky picnicker
a copy of their new crochet story and pattern book, The Big Acorn Race.

Three quick hops and you’ll be entered to win:

1) Hop on over to Instagram and follow @squirrelpicnic.

2) Repost this photo.

3) Tag it @squirrelpicnic #wannawinthebigacornrace

I’ll draw a random winner on June 2. I can’t wait to see who wins!


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The Big Acorn Race Launch Party

It was a cold and slushy day in April when several intrepid friends braved their way through treacherous conditions to come together and celebrate the launch of The Big Acorn Race: A Story with Crochet Patterns and Projects.

The Big Acorn Race Launch Party

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In a Nutshell: News from the Picnic

The Big Acorn RaceWhat a wild a crazy month March was! The Big Acorn Race is doing well on Amazon. Twelve people give it 5 stars! If you’ve purchased a copy, thank you so very much! If you have a moment and you feel so inclined, would you mind dropping by Amazon to leave a customer review? It would help the book a lot.

Sorry for the self-promotion. Since the release, I’ve been in full-on marketing mode, which is totally not my cup of tea.

One last note about the book: I’m pleased to announce that The Big Acorn Race is now available in all four branches of the Boulder Public Library! If you’d like to check it out from your local library, give your friendly librarians a call or go online and fill out their “Suggest a Title” or similar acquisition form. You never know, they might just decide to carry a copy.

Year of the Sock FB Group BannerYear of the Sock

I’ve just begun working on my socks for April. I got a bunch of crochet sock pattern books from the library and now I can’t decide which pattern to try! I’m excited that so many of you are now interested in crocheting socks. I set up a Facebook group and anyone interested in sock crochet is welcome to join. Whether you are new to crocheted socks or a seasoned veteran, we’d love to have you. You don’t even need to be working on a pair to participate. I’m really interested in hearing your tips and tricks, what types of heel construction you have tried, what your favorite patterns are, and what sock yarn you like best. Together we’ll become crochet sock experts!

Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower Pillow Crochet Along

If you’re following The Big Acorn Race blog, you probably noticed my post this past week inviting crocheters to join the Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower Pillow Crochet Along. This pattern is just one of 15 super cute crochet patterns you’ll find in Squirrel Picnic’s very own The Big Acorn RaceThe pattern is a lot easier than it looks and extraordinarily entertaining. Each round takes you on an adventure! And I can’t wait to show you the way.

Tall n Fast Flower Facebook Group Banner

Starting April 19, follow along as we crochet this unique pillow over the course of 6 weeks. Each week you’ll receive a pdf newsletter right to your inbox with tips and tricks and detailed tutorial photos to guide you step by step.

In addition, when you sign up, you’ll be registered to win 1 of 2 yarn-filled prize bags, each containing over 1000 yards of yarn, which will be given through a random drawing of participants at the end of the 6 weeks. And best of all, you’ll get a personal email from Hodge and Podge, thanking you for your participation.

Sign up by emailing me at squirrelpicnic{at}gmail{dot}com with the words Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower CAL in the subject line. It’s as easy as that!

Then join the Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower Facebook group to share your experiences with the pattern and photos of your progress.

The Big Acorn Race Tea Party

Finally, on April 16 I will be hosting a tea party at Beatrice & Woodsley in Denver to celebrate the release of the book and to thank all the people that helped make it possible. This venue is so perfect for Squirrel Picnic. The décor inside is very woodsy and whimsical. It’s filled with aspen trees and moss-covered walls. The perfect hangout for some squirrel friends. I wish that I could invite you all, but it’s a pretty small space. I’ll be sure to take lots of photos and share them with you here later this month.

Thanks again for all your support. It means so much to me!

Love and hugs,

Jennifer


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The Big Acorn Race Giveaway Ends Thursday at Midnight!

Hodge and Podge and Eric are so pleased with your response to their Big Acorn Race Giveaway that they want me to pick 3 winners on Friday! That means 3 lucky picnickers will receive copies of Squirrel Picnic’s own The Big Acorn Race sent right to their mailbox. The contest ends at midnight MST on Thursday, so hop on over to our giveaway app at https://gleam.io/90Aw9/the-big-acorn-race-giveaway and enter right away. Then stop by the picnic on Friday to see who has won.

Big Acorn Race March Giveaway 2

Looking for more opportunities to get your hands on this book? The world-famous Twinkie Chan is offering The Big Acorn Race as part of her March Giveaway. Not only could you win the book, but a lot of super cute prizes as well.

Best of luck to everyone. I can’t wait to see who wins!


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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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Big Acorn Race Update: Picnic Photo Shoot with Your Favorite Squirrel Friends

Final Photoshoot Sketches_Squirrel Picnic

Before heading out to the mountains for the photo shoot, I took some time to sketch out a general layout. I love drawing Hodge, Podge, and Eric.

This past week I took the final photographs for the book. These full-page color photos are the “beauty shots” that will divide the patterns into sections.

Hodge, Podge, Eric, and I decided to make an adventure out of it and head up to the mountains with all of our props. We went to one of our favorite places: White Ranch Open Space Park. It was a beautiful, blue-sky day (it didn’t even feel like winter), but it was also really, really windy. We were determined not to let the wind spoil our fun, so we carried our baskets of Big Acorn Race goodies over the mud and snow until we came upon some picnic tables in the sun.

I had sketched out my ideas on how to lay out each scene before we got there, but I hadn’t really prepared for the wind. I set everything up, taping some things down and holding others down with rocks! Then I waited patiently for the wind to die down and tried to snap as many photos as I could in between gusts.

The Big Acorn Race by crochet artist and writer Jennifer Olivarez is a whimsical storybook and crochet pattern book in one!

Hodge and Podge and Eric got to model their accessories in the first photo. The first group of patterns you will find in the book include instructions to make the squirrels plus their accessories and inventions. The new and improved squirrel amigurumi pattern comes complete with photo tutorials and detailed instructions on how to embroider their faces, how to create their eyes, and how to sew their tails. I think you will appreciate finally being able to find all this information in one place! There are also patterns to make Podge’s apron, Hodge’s baseball cap, and Eric’s jet pack.

Oak Leaves and Acorns Patterns to Crochet from The Big Acorn Race by Jennifer Olivarez_Squirrel Picnic

Next we used the picnic scene to display the Oak Leaf and Acorn Garland, Acorns in Six Sizes, and Oak Leaf Clutch. I have had the garland hanging in my bedroom for a few months now, and I love the way it adds a pinch of woodsy charm to my room. I had a lot of fun making the Oak Leaf Clutch in particular. In addition to the instructions to crochet the clutch, I show you how to add a lining and a zipper.

Tall n Fast Flower Crochet Patterns from The Big Acorn Race by Jennifer Olivarez_Squirrel Picnic

Eventually we couldn’t compete with the wind any longer. I really had to fight against the wind to get back to the car, so I had to admit that we weren’t going to be able to take any more photos on the mountain. We packed it up and headed back down to one of my favorite parks in Arvada. Here, I set up the scene for the flower section, which includes patterns to make accessories for you and your home inspired by Podge’s solution to the Big Acorn Race challenge… the Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower!

#1 Award Medal for You and Your Squirrel Friend crochet pattern from The Big Acorn Race by Jennifer Olivarez

Next was the photo for one of my favorite accessories. The book also includes patterns to make an award medal for you and your squirrel friend! Aren’t they darling? Danielle Duncan teamed up with Podge to gracefully model their award medals. Thank you, Danielle! You are a natural. You and Podge will make everyone want medals of their own.

Now that the photos are taken care of and amazing artist Sylvie is finishing things up (bless her heart, she is more than amazing!), I get to start working on promotional things… like giveaways! I’m hoping to have several throughout the month of March, so keep a lookout—the details on how you can win a copy of The Big Acorn Race are coming your way! (If you’re looking to purchase a copy, I promise it’s almost here. Friends of the picnic will be the first to know, so be sure to pay attention to your email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in the week ahead.)