Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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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.)


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Big Acorn Race Update: Nearing the Finish Line

The Big Acorn Race

I've found wearing one of the #1 Award Medals while I proofread gives me instant motivation! Patterns for #1 Award Medals for you and your squirrel friend are included in the book. I’ve found wearing one of the #1 Award Medals while I proofread gives me instant motivation! Patterns for #1 Award Medals for you and your squirrel friend are included in the book.

I can almost see the finish line from here, and after a year in the making, it is really hard to believe that it isn’t a mirage! There are just a few more branches to climb, and this little squirrel book will be ready to hop out into the world.

My designer has been diligently working on the graphics and layout. She’s even scheduled a photoshoot with a professional product photographer to take some final photographs later this month.

Meanwhile I’ve been busy proofreading the first few drafts. You’d think this would be a piece of cake for me, since I’ve been working professionally as a proofreader for almost a decade. However, this was probably the most difficult…

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The Big Acorn Race Update: New Beginnings

Podge's ApronThese past two months have been such a whirlwind for me. I had the goal to get all the patterns for the book to the pattern testers by the middle of July and to get all the preliminary text files and photos for most of the patterns  to my wonderful friend, the super talented Sylvie by the end of last week. It was a tall order, but somehow I did it! Continue reading


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The Big Acorn Race Update: Tall ‘n’ Fast Flowers

The past six weeks have been all about flowers – well, one flower in particular. The Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower is a very special one that is native to Squirrel Picnic. In “The Big Acorn Race” story, Podge has to grow a flower, fast. Luckily she has a packet of seeds that will do the trick. Sure enough, her Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower grows both tall and fast. You’ll have to excuse my cryptic description there – I just don’t want to spoil the story.

What I can tell you is that just like many of the items in the story, there will be patterns to make your own Tall ‘n’ Fast Flowers. This month I designed a Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower barrette, wall hanging, and 14” round pillow. I even designed a seed packet phone case! So far these are my favorite patterns from the book. I hope you enjoy these photos of them… Continue reading


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The Big Acorn Race Update: We’ve Got a Cover!

This has been an exciting month! It’s also been extraordinarily busy. (Isn’t it funny how the two always seem to go hand in hand?) I promise to write a separate post about designing and creating all the new patterns, working with pattern testers, choosing fonts, and hashing out what will go in the techniques section. But for now I just really want to share with you something near and dear to my heart, something I’ve dreamed of for over two years now… we have a cover for Squirrel Picnic’s very first story and pattern book!The Big Acorn Race by Jennifer OlivarezBig love and thanks go out to Sylvie Abecassis for designing the graphics and working her magic on my photos. I am always amazed by the talent she possesses. She has a big heart, a wealth of design knowledge and skill, and a generous and caring spirit. I can’t thank her enough for this beautiful gift.

Now that I have a cover, expect to see it everywhere! Speaking of which, I’m working on a website for the book where you will be able to find news and updates and any interactive features I’m able to create. That all may be a little ways down the road, but I’m excited about this next step in the adventure. Thanks as always to every one of you. I hope you are enjoying this journey. I’m sure happy to have you along for the ride.