Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


Something to Smile About

1.25.16 Something to Smile About from Squirrel Picnic


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Squirrel Picnic’s 2014 Winter Holiday Banner Is Here!

2014 Squirrel Picnic Winter BannerThe 2014 winter holiday banner shows Hodge and Podge getting in the spirit of the season. After making snowsquirrels and wrapping them up with scarves they crocheted, our two favorite squirrel friends decorated a Christmas tree, complete with miniature Christmas lights! They did this all very quietly, so they wouldn’t wake the dove sleeping nearby.

This diorama took me about two months to complete. First I created the form for the holly wreath by crocheting two frames in black and sewing them together around a cardboard form. This gave it stability while also providing a surface that I knew would be easy to attach my crochet holly and poinsettias to.

Then came the real fun — designing the diorama and choosing all the patterns to create the scene I was looking for. One of my main goals was to use only free crochet patterns that are simple, clear, and thorough, so you all would enjoy using them too. I spent several weeks trying out different patterns before finally making my selections. I want to give a sincere thank-you to each of these designers for creating such lovely items and gifting the world with their patterns. So without further ado, here they are… Continue reading


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New Winter Banner: Snowsquirrels and Snowacorns

Winter 2014 by Squirrel PicnicIt seems like it’s snowing all across the U.S. this weekend, so I thought what better way to pass the time indoors than to crochet some snowsquirrels and snowacorns like those on our new winter banner. Read on to discover how you can make snowsquirrels and snowacorns out of yarn (in case you’re just not in the mood to make them out of snow).

P.S. It’s been brought to my attention that the New Year’s video didn’t show up in the email last Wednesday, which is a shame because it really is rather cute. If you’d like to see how Hodge and Podge and the fatimals rang in 2014, you can view the short film on the website. Sorry about that.

Snowsquirrels

To make snowsquirrels, use this snowman pattern by The Dapper Toad. To make a snowman into a snowsquirrel you’ll need a tail and ears too.

For the tail, make another snowman but replace “Rows 11-13: sc around” with “Rows 11-15: sc around.” Then continue pattern as written. Stuff lightly. As you’re stuffing the tail, rework the shape by flattening the bottom and rounding the top.  Sew the tail to the back of your snowsquirrel.

Make 2 ears from my squirrel pattern and attach to the top of the snowsquirrel’s head.

I also used The Dapper Toad’s pattern for the snowsquirrels’ scarves.

Snowacorn

To make snowacorns, use white worsted-weight yarn and my pattern for acorns.

Hats for Your Squirrel Friends

To make hats for your squirrel friends, follow my pattern for a squirrel head, Rows 1-8. Use a slightly larger hook: size H-8 (5.00 mm) or I-9 (5.50 mm) should do.


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Seven Quart Crock-Pot Green Chile

green-chile1Imagine coming home after a long day of work, perhaps even commuting through the snow, to the aroma of green chile simmering in your Crock-Pot. Just one bowl is enough to warm you up and put a smile on your face. I originally created this recipe for my husband when we were first marriedit’s one of his favorite meals. Since then it has won first place at a chile cook-off and been my favorite meal to make for family. It’s perfect for so many occasions, from a weeknight dinner to a potluck. I know your family will enjoy it as much as mine has.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
salt and pepper
5 lbs. pork shoulder, trimmed from the bone and cut into hand-size pieces
10 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 lb. tomatillos, husked and diced
2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice
2 lbs. Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, and diced
4-6 jalapenos, roasted, peeled, and diced
3 tbsp. cumin seeds, toasted in a dry pan over low heat, shaking the pan frequently, until aromatic
2 tbsp. ground cumin
2 tbsp. Mexican oregano
1 tbsp. red chili powder
¼ tsp. cayenne
¼ c. flour

  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Season pork with salt and pepper and brown in skillet.
  3. To the Crock-Pot, add garlic, onions, tomatillos, tomatoes, and peppers. Stir in spices.
  4. Remove pork from skillet and arrange in Crock-Pot.
  5. Sprinkle flour into pan and stir to create a roux. Tuck spoonfuls of roux in amongst the pork.
  6. Cook on high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 6 to 7 hours.
  7. Shred pork with a fork and let simmer for 30 minutes more.