A Very Real Wish for the New Year

This post may be too real. But it's what I needed to say.

Am I the only one who can't believe that 2015 is over? I'm over here still thinking 1995 was only ten years ago. Let's be honest. I wish you the best and only good things in the new year, but this is a difficult time of year and I'm having trouble finding the words to express how great 2015 was (which it really was). We welcomed our healthy and happy baby girl, my son graduated from Kindergarten and went on to the 1st grade, and so so many other good things that I'm grateful for.

This year has also had its downs, most notably the death of my father. But apart from the lows, parents who have experienced child loss will understand how I feel all too well. I desperately try to make the holidays as special and magical as I can for my kids, but on the inside I'm just trying not to fall to pieces because my daughter isn't here with me. And it's hard. Today, as another year draws to a close, I'm once again reminded that I have to silently face yet another year without my Bryn.

I live in a tiny town where a lot of people know who I am and know my story. I've been public about our loss and some of the journey we've taken since then. I've had the great fortune of having support, even if it's just a small smile on a bad day, or all your comments. Even so, there are days when I feel alone. There are bad days when I can't even force a smile, but I still have to go adulting in public, fearing that people will just think I'm being mean.

Get to the point Liz... what I'm saying is that you truly never understand the internal struggle that someone is going through. We can never know how our actions, or lack of action, affect others. But there is one small thing that I wish for the world that will make 2016 a better time to live. Be kind. As cliché and cheesy as that sounds. Even on your bad days (trust me I know how hard that is), but it'll help you too. Don't forget to be kinder to yourself too. Something that too many of us struggle with.

I sat down to write a post about a New Year's sale and this is what came out. I guess it's been weighing on me more heavily than I even really knew. Sometimes the only thing that gets me through the day is to turn to those who have supported me in the past. Thank you for being there for me from afar. 

This post was very real. Maybe too real. For that I'm sorry. It's a little out of character for me as I usually try to hide that I'm human, have weaknesses, and may need help from time to time. As I'm writing this I'm not even sure if I'll click "Publish" or not. So here's to courage, honesty, and a kinder future.

play hard... play hooky


Baby Top Hat - Free Crochet Pattern

Halloween. It's one of my favorite holidays. Not in a dark way, but in an I'm-so-excited-it's-Fall-and-the-holidays-are-about-to-start sort of way. Also, candy.

This year I've been getting some really fun costume requests from my friends. I'm up for a challenge and for making something new so I can't help but say yes.

One of my friends just had a baby and they're doing a Thomas the Train family costume theme. The baby gets to be Sir Toppem Hat, so naturally she needed his namesake accessory. That's where I came in.

I made it up as I went and decided to write it down for you. This is an easily adaptable pattern. Feel free to play with it, make it bigger, smaller, shorter, taller, add a hat band, a flower, or a button... whatever! Just make it yours. Upload it to my Ravelry page so we can all see. And be sure to give it heart so you can find it later.

Yes, that's a lot of single crocheting... but look how cute!

Click the "PRINT FRIENDLY" button at the top of the page to download and print the full pattern. Or find it on my Ravelry page. Here's some quick info for you:


  • Worsted weight yarn (10 ply/8 wpi): 1.8 - 2.5 oz
  • US G-6 / 4.00 mm crochet hook

  • Newborn - 12” around
  • Bigger babies - up to 18” around (9-12 months)

play hard ... play hooky


How my neighbor saved my PSL on National Coffee Day

Pumpkin Spice Latte
balancing you on my bike
please don't make me crash

If you don't like good stories with happy endings, you can scroll to the bottom for the sale. But if you need a laugh, hopefully this will deliver...

It's National Coffee Day. A fact I didn't know until after this morning's struggle to imbibe in the delicious brown liquid.

Believe it or not, I've never had a PSL. Until this weekend. I decided it was high time I jumped on the pumpkin-everything bandwagon and see what the hype was about.

And it was gooooood. I even hear Starbucks is using real pumpkin this year (kind of a scary thought that they hadn't been all along, but I'm overlooking that).

This morning, I got a craving for another one. You see how this could become a problem. So I deferred my morning caffeine fix until after taking my son to school when I could make a Starbucks run. 

I got all my kids (including my next door neighbor's daughter) out the door and on our bikes. We ride to school every day, so why should today be any different? That's the moment my story took a turn, but I wouldn't realize it for another 30 minutes or so.

We had a fun ride to school and played before the bell. I put my girls back in the bike trailer and rode to Safeway. As I stepped up to the Starbucks counter it slowly dawned on me that my sole means of getting home is bike. My BIKE. There are no cupholders on my bike.

Sure, at this point I could have admitted defeat and ridden back home empty handed. But I'm no quitter. You should also know that I'm not exactly an expert cyclist. Riding the half-mile back to my house with one hand on my handlebars and one hand grasping my PSL was a pretty daunting idea.

Ultimately, my need for coffee overrode any sense of impending personal injury from a crash, including hot coffee burns on my hand. I walked out of the store with my baby on my hip and my latte in my hand.

As I was buckling my girls back into the trailer, my neighbor (another one, he lives a few doors down) walked past, said "Good morning" and asked how we were.

Normally I wouldn't have mentioned my turbulent inner struggle, but it was pretty obvious that I was battling to balance everything. Here's how the conversation went:

"Oh hey Ryan, nice morning, huh? I'm just trying to figure out how to get my coffee back home in one piece. I probably should've skipped it this morning."

"Oh, that's NEVER the answer" (he gets me). "Here, take this. It's a little rough on the bumps, but it'll do the job."

He then went to his bike (can you tell we loves bikes in this town?), took off a metal ring that was innocuously attached to his handlebars, and clamped it down on mine. Perfection!!! My coffee has a place all its own.

He was right. It was a little rough on the bumps, but we all made it home. No crash. No burns. Just fall-flavored awesomeness. I gotta get me one of those metal things.

See how that works? When you choose coffee over almost-certain bodily harm, good things happen. Because... coffee.

Speaking of... let's celebrate National Coffee Day with more ways to keep the caffeine flowing. For the rest of the day only, all my Coffee Cozy patterns are only $0.99 in my Ravelry shop. (In fact, the one pictured in the middle is FREE)

play hard ... play hooky


The post I didn't really want to write

This is a post that I didn't really want to write. Ever. 

It's been a long week for me. You see, my dad has been sick for a while now, but the last two months things got progressively worse. Unstable enough to stay at home, he has been in and out of the ICU and other care centers. 

Last Friday I was at a friend's house when my mom called from Oklahoma and told me that his heart stopped and they were attempting to resuscitate him. An hour later, she called again to tell me that he passed away.

So my dad died a week ago and I'm still processing it. It doesn't seem real. And that's why I've been so quiet.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts and prayers.


Christmas in July and 50% off

It's summer. With a new baby in the house, and my other two kids at home all day, things have gotten a little hectic. My mind tends to think of ALL THE THINGS at once. Let me give you a little rundown...

It's hot - I love rain - I get to wear my Prana mini skorts - don't forget to use tan in a can today - ooh look a squirrel - let's go to the park - hit up Pinterest for some summer paleo meal ideas - it's too nice outside to be vacuuming - RAINBOWS - I got another four mosquito bites yesterday - plan a BBQ - I'm having Wimbledon withdrawals...

It goes on. But the one thing that's not really on my mind is Christmas. Well it should be! And it should be on yours too, because like it or not it's going to be here faster than you think. 

It's time to get inspired and stock up on patterns. Visit my shop any time from now through Thursday 7/16, all the patterns in my Ravelry shop are half off.

Yes, I said 50% off. You got some shopping to do!



Yarnspirations 2015 Look Book and Giveaway

I was so excited when Yarnspirations (the brilliant yarnies behind Patons, Bernat, Caron, and Lily yarns) approached me with a sneak-peek at their new baby look book, Country Mouse & City Mouse, and the chance to preview one of the adorable patterns.

It was hard to choose one, but as soon as I saw the Mousie Snood I knew that was the one. What was even more fun was that I got to put my own spin on the design. Some of you know that I live in Colorado. It's cold here. Well, maybe not in the middle of July, but it will be all too soon. So to make the snood even more snow-worthy, I decided to use Bernat Pipsqueak to add a fuzzy edge for my mountain baby.

To give it that fuzzy look, I began my Mousie Snood with Bernat Baby Blanket on Round 2 using a chainless foundation and continued working until it was the right length. I then attached Bernat Pipsqueak to the bottom of my foundation round and worked 1 hdc in the BLO of each stitch around to create the cozy fur edge.

Enter below for the chance to win all the yarn you need to make your own fuzzy Mousie Snood!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was provided the materials to make the snood, but all opinions and reviews are mine.


Get it before it's GONE

After much thought, I've decided to remove any of my graph patterns that could be considered trademarked or licensed. They will be taken down from my shops on Monday, 5/11.

Before they're gone for good, I'm having a "Get it for the LAST time" S-A-L-E in my Ravelry shop. They are only $1.00 through Sunday. So seriously, go get them while you can!

Help me get the word out and share this post so your friends don't miss out before it's too late.

I'm so sorry that I can't offer these graphs any more, but I can't in good conscience continue to offer something that was inspired by someone else's design. I've debated with myself about this for a while now, which is why I have so few of them that could be called into question. In the end, I need to go with what feels right to me and I finally concluded that means removing them. Even though they are among my favorite graphs and I will miss them, haha.

I welcome all respectful comments and messages if you have questions or concerns.


PS - You should still have access to your graphs in your Ravelry once they are removed on Monday.

play hard... play hooky


The Butterflies Have (Finally) Been Released

It was a perfect day, with great friends, good weather, and much love!!! After such a busy and amazing weekend, I'm finding it hard to gather my thoughts about what it means to me to have you be a part of such a personal celebration of my daughter Bryn. So, I'll just let the pictures do it for me.

play hard ... play hooky


Snow Butterflies

We were all set to hang #brynsbutterflies in the park tomorrow... and then this.

We've gotten well over a foot of the white stuff in the last 24 hours and it's still coming down. At least another 2" or so has fallen since I took these pictures.

Since Bryn's birthday was on a Thursday, I scheduled to install the butterfly yarn bomb for this Saturday (tomorrow). Mother nature has her own plans. I don't want to make everyone trudge through slush, or heaven forbid if a tree branch were to fall on someone.

It's not over though, just postponed until next weekend. I'm sad that we won't be able to do it tomorrow, especially for those of you who were so generous and quick with getting your butterflies to me. Just know that this doesn't change how much it means to us - it only changes the date. Hopefully Bryn doesn't mind.


Bryn's Butterflies

Many of you have been with me long enough to experience the hardest moment of my life. The day we lost our daughter Bryn, a month after her 5th birthday. That was almost 3 years ago. I've had some major highs and lows since then. The highs have mostly come from the crochet community rallying behind me in support and love to make sure her smile is never forgotten.

Every year on her birthday I try to do something special with you all. Two years ago it was Bryn's Flowers - a major yarn bomb on the fence of the kindergarten she would have attended. Last year we handed out candy to let her know we "love her more than candy" - something she used to say to me.

This year, on April 16th she would have turned 8. So to do something that would have made her smile, let's make butterflies. LOTS of butterflies to hang from the tree in her favorite park. Ones that anyone can take if they need something to brighten their day. Bryn made people smile wherever she went. We can help her keep spreading that joy.

If you want to be a part of Bryn's 8th birthday celebration, here's the info you're looking for:

  • Pattern: You can use any butterfly pattern you'd like. It'd be best if they're not too small since they'll be hanging in a big tree. Here is a collection of my favorite free butterfly patterns on Ravelry to give you inspiration - http://www.ravelry.com/bundles/10853
  • Deadline: My mail is slow... really slow. So to be sure I get your butterflies in time to add them to the tree, please have them in the mail by Saturday, April 11th (Monday at the latest). But sooner is better!
  • Extras: We will need lots of thin fishing line to hang all these beauties from the tree. If you don't crochet, or just want to clean out your husband's tackle box, please send it to the address below.
  • Address: Send everything to...
Playin' Hooky Designs
Liz McQueen
PO Box 453
Salida, CO 81201

play hard... play hooky


Here comes the baby pool

I had a dream last night that I had the baby, so we'd better get this party started before it's too late.

I thought it'd be fun to start a pool where you can guess when we will get to meet my baby girl. The best part? The one closest to actual date will win $20 to my shop!! As a bonus, EVERYONE who guesses her name right will get a free pattern.

Use the tab above or this link to enter!

play hard ... play hooky



I dare you to try and not say that ^ in that DJ movie voice

It's the time of year where those of us in the States look to a little rodent named Phil to let us know what the next 6 weeks will be like. This morning, Phil was scared by his shadow and retreated into his little burrow letting us know there will be 6 more weeks of winter.

But look on the bright side. That just means you have more time to make and wear beanies! To celebrate I'm having a sale on all the patterns in my Ravelry shop today. Go get you some!

play hard ... play hooky


Don't think of it as Monday...

Think of it as PATTERN DAY!!

I'm so excited to finally bring you my first design of 2015... the Snowdrift Slouch.

Swirl, twist, roll… whatever you call it, you NEED this hat. It’s as fun to make as it is to wear. Versatile, cozy and comfy, with undeniable style. Make it in a solid color or with a color pop. Just make it your own today!

Here's your chance to enter to win a free copy of my new Snowdrift Slouch pattern:

Follow this link to Pin the picture to the left.

Then head over to my Facebook post and leave your Pinterest ID.

Tomorrow (1/13) I'll pick FIVE random winners from all the entries to win a free copy of the Snowdrift Slouch pattern (or another pattern from my shop if you already have it)!



play hard ... play hooky