Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff

Something to Smile About

2.8.16 Something to Smile About from Squirrel Picnic



Make a Squirrel-Sized Valentine

Squirrel Sized Valentine Heart by Squirrel PicnicThis week Hodge came to me with a special request. He really, really, really wanted to make a valentine for Podge and he needed me to show him how to crochet one. Of course, I would show him how! I couldn’t say no to that sweet face.

And while we were at it, we decided to create a video so you could follow along stitch-by-stitch as well. The pattern is pretty quick and simple. You’ll need to know basic crochet techniques like chaining, working in the round, and making slip stitches, half-double crochets and double crochets.

I introduce a new technique in the video as well: the alternative join method or needle joining. It’s a nice alternative to the slip-stitch join because it creates an invisible join in your final round.

We hope you enjoy the video, make lots of valentine hearts for your squirrel friends, and have a very happy Valentine’s Day!


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Make It! Challenge #8: Zombies in Love

Zombies in Love from Squirrel Picnic

My husband, Shelby, is the best. Since the start of Squirrel Picnic, he’s had to put up with crochet squirrels coming on vacation with us, weekends sacrificed to endless crochet craziness, and a living room that is almost always covered in yarn. He’s also been my best adviser, weighing in on everything from yarn color to construction. He has a very good mechanical mind. For these and so many other reasons, I am very pleased to be able to dedicate Make It! Challenge #8 to him — it’s well deserved and long overdue. And, yes, he advised me on everything for this project, even coming with me to the yarn shop to pick out zombie colors.

As you could probably already guess, for this challenge Shelby asked me to make him a zombie version of myself (a zombie self-portrait if you will). I set my heart on a few details from the start: an exposed brain with a flap of scalp, an eye that could pop out of the socket, and an arm that’s been cut off at the elbow. Of those three details, the eyes were the hardest, and I’m still not thrilled with how bug-eyed my zombie looks. So when I decided to make a zombie version of my husband to accompany the zombie version of me, I chose to simplify the construction of some of the details. Before I knew it, I had two very different patterns. The bodies and appendages are basically the same, but details like the eyes, brain opening, hair, and limbs are more complicated on the girl zombie. Have fun picking and choosing which details you like between the girl and boy zombies to make your zombie uniquely your own.

As a final note, I should mention that this pattern doesn’t include how to make clothing for your zombie. However, at the end of each pattern, I’ve listed links to the free sewing patterns I used to make my zombies’ clothes. Most 16” to 18” doll clothes patterns will fit your zombie, but do a fitting with the pattern before you start. There are a lot of free American Girl Doll clothes patterns online, and from what I could tell, most of them will fit your zombie with minimal tweaking.

As I type this, our zombies look very cute sitting on the couch together and holding hands. I’d love to see pictures of your zombies too! Send them to squirrelpicnic{at}gmail{dot}com or share them on Facebook.

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Red Velvet Valentine’s Day Pancakes

These red velvet pancakes are perfect for a Valentine’s Day breakfast in bed.

Valentine's Day Pancakes (800x635)

Makes 6 5-inch pancakes.


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 0.3-ounce bottle of red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Toppings: whipped cream and strawberries

  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  2. In another mixing bowl mix together the egg, milk, oil, food coloring, and vanilla.
  3. Add the egg mixture to the dry mixture and stir until combined.
  4. Lightly grease a skillet and bring to medium heat. For each pancake, pour about a 1/3 cup batter onto skillet. Cook about 2 minutes on each side.
  5. Top with whipped cream and strawberries.

Additional Toppings to Drizzle Over Red Velvet Pancakes

Cream cheese drizzle: Beat 2 ounces of softened cream cheese with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar. Beat in enough milk (about 3 tablespoons) to reach drizzling consistency.

Strawberry sauce: Blend 3 cups fresh or thawed frozen strawberries in a food processor. In a medium saucepan, stir together 1/3 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until thickened. Cool to room temperature.