Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Zentangle

Z is for Zentangle
Zentangle is an art form that uses structured patterns to create beautiful images.  It's a form of doodling which is made up of  simple patterns.  I just discovered it recently and I really enjoy the simplicity of it.  I especially like the booklet "Zentangle 8" because it was about using it for monograms and alphabets. 
I thought it would be fun to make a monogram to hang on the wall.  You need a wooden letter, available at craft stores and a black sharpie.  I chose several zentangle patterns out of the two zentangle books  I decorated the letter E for my daughter's room.  It was my first attempt , but I think it came out ok.
If you do this craft, provide a link in the comments so I can come see.   This would make a great Mother's Day gift. 
 The photos are for the same item which is a white letter with black designs.  But in the one photo the light reflected so I added another photo with different exposure so you could see the design.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yarn

Y is for Yarn
Originally this post was supposed to be about Yarn protesting.  But because of recent national events  I've decided to postpone that post and just talk about yarn.
I love yarn, all kinds.  I'm eagerly awaiting a box of yarn I ordered off the internet.  Where I live, we don't seem to get much cotton yarn except for dish rag cotton and we don't get much fingering weight yarn.  It's mostly worsted weight.  So I ordered some fingering weight cotton yarn off the internet.  I was hoping to share a picture of it with you but alas, it hasn't arrived.  I think I ordered 8 balls in different colors, so I can't wait for it to arrive.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

X is for eXcited

X is for eXcited


Yes, I’m cheating with X.  But,  I am very excited.  I found another crochet stitch pattern book, called 99 Post Stitches and in it they had the Brick stitch I was looking for.  As you can see it looks a lot more like bricks than the other crochet stitch I was using, plus it’s super easy to do.  So now I’m full steam ahead on the item I was making which I’ll share when I’m done.

W is for Wrap Bracelet

W is for Wrap Bracelet

I’ve been very into wrap bracelets lately; you get the look of multiple bracelets with only one.

I’ve made a few this week.  The first one I used 20 lb hemp and tho I like the look of it, it’s a pain to string the beads and crochet with.



So I made another using my new favorite size 3 cotton thread.  Ahh!  Much easier. 


I found these little cross beads so I used it as my focus but of course you can use any bead for a focus, or you don’t even need a focus, all the beads can be the same.


First string 40 e-beads onto thread, then the cross bead, then 40 more e-beads.  Thread a two  hole button (or a shank button works too) onto the thread and tie a double knot.  Now using a size D crochet hook make a loop next to the button and chain 3, * slip a bead next to the hook and chain 2.  Repeat from *  having one plain chain and one chain with a bead in it until you’ve chained up all your beads.  Then chain 8 and slipstitch in 8th chain from hook .  This is your loop for the button.  Weave in your ends.

 Now wrap it around your wrist about 5 times and voila!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Ugly

U is for Ugly


I’m  making this Owl cushion from the pattern I bought. 
Crochet pattern owl cushion by ATERGcrochet in two sizes

My first attempt was this. 

Ugly! Because as I said before I can’t always choose colors  So I went to her Etsy shop and studied the pix of the cushions and then I made this.


Ahh!  Much better and so pretty.   Even though this picture doesn't do the colors justice.  It's purples and pinks.
 Now I can’t wait to finish it and see it on my love seat on the porch. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Time

T is for Time
Which I never seem to have enough of.  Where does it go?  And why does the weekend seem to whiz by but the work week tends to drag.?  Why is an hour sitting and  knitting over in a flash, but an hour sitting at my desk at work making phone calls seem to last forever?  Why does ten minutes of pain from a migraine seem intolerable but ten minutes laughing with my daughter seem  over too quick?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Such and Stuff

P Q R S is for Such and Stuff


I’ve been buying a lot of patterns lately so P is for patterns.  You might wonder why I would need to buy patterns when I could probably figure it out myself.  But sometimes I don’t feel like figuring it out.  Sometimes I just want to sit and crochet and not have to pick colors or figure out sizing.  Plus buying others designer’s patterns, I’ve actually learned a few new things, like a neater ending for crochet or how to add crochet  flowers to a bunting.

Q is for Quicker.  I’m always looking for a way to streamline my knitting or crocheting so it takes less time.  But sometimes I just want to take my time and mosey along working on a more complicated design.

R is for Rainbow.  And though I love colors I’m not always good at combining them prettily.  So I’ve bought several patterns by ATERcrochet  because I love her use of color.  Plus her patterns are wonderful.

S is for Slip Stitch, my new favorite stitch in knitting.  With it you can make items look like plaid, or tweed or bricks.  It’s so fascinating and I have several things in the works using slip stitch. 

That’s what I’ve been doing lately, studying new patterns and new ways to knit and crochet, when I thought I “knew it all”.  I love learning new stuff so it’s been fun and relaxing.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


O and M is for Om.  Perhaps you've noticed I skipped the letter O and M.  I'm exhausted this week from the chaos surrounding events at work. 

I did this post to remind me:  Breathe in, I am calm, Breathe out, I smile. 

It's funny how you can forget to breathe sometimes. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for New Jersey

N is for New Jersey


            I love New Jersey.  I was born and raised here.  I know it’s the brunt of a lot of jokes but in my mind it really is the best state.        

It’s right in the middle of the Northeast corridor and so it’s accessible to big cities like New York or Philadelphia, but there’s still a lot of farmland and open space.  At least in the area I live.  We’ve got the beaches and boardwalks in the summer (what’s left after Hurricane Sandy) and we usually  get just the right amount of snow in the winter for a little winter fun but not so much that we’re paralyzed by it.

            It’s only a 10 hour trip to Myrtle Beach, SC.  Florida is only a road trip away.  My mother drove us there every summer for a week of fun.

             And my claim to fame is I’m originally from Freehold , the home of the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.  He was a few years older than me so I never met him but I knew the woman who let him use her garage to practice in when he was a teen.  She went to my church. 

            My only complaint about NJ is while lilacs and forsythia herald Spring in other states, here you know it’s spring when the road work begins.  The sight of traffic cones and steam shovels tells you the warm weather has arrived.  At least we don’t have to pump our own gas.  And I like that!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

L is for Little Man

Mazz little One's photography

Here's a picture of a baby wearing my top hat and bowtie set available in my Etsy Shop.  Isn't he the most adorable little man?

Please visit the link above to Mazz little One's Photography blog to see more of her work.  there are also more photos of the baby above wearing the bowtie and hat  under "Our Charming Boy T" on her blog.

K is for Knitting

Knitting  VS. Crochet


Here is an example of similar “looks” in knitting and crochet.  I’m designing something that looks like bricks.





I like the knitted example much better because it achieves the look of bricks better.  However it takes a lot longer to make than the same size piece in crochet.





The crochet sample is okay but doesn’t look as much like bricks as I was hoping.  Plus the pattern was fiddly.  You had to finish off at the end of every row which means a ton of ends to weave in when done.

And that's a look into how I design projects.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

J is for Jump


Just do It!

 A lot of times I hem and haw and stand on the brink of a new project or goal or dream and just stare at it, frozen.  I can’t start it.  It can be as small as a new idea for a crochet project or as big as opening up an Etsy shop.

When I first wanted to open my shop I was so overwhelmed by all the advice in the blogosphere I became paralyzed.  “You must have excellent pictures.”  “You must write a witty and revealing profile.”  “Your sales copy has to be primo.”  “And don’t forget your tags and SEO”   And while of that is certainly true, you don’t have to do it all at once. 

It actually took me 3 months longer to get going because I was afraid to start.  Nothing was perfect.  My pictures were bad.  I didn’t know what tags and SEO were.  I would just sit and stare at the Etsy  site  and then walk away because I couldn’t do it.

But I really wanted an online shop.  And a lot of people were doing it.   So finally one day I did it. I just started.  I put up my bad pictures (which are no longer available, I didn’t even know about cropping or rotating the pictures LOL) and wrote bad copy and just did it.   And my first attempt was bad.  But it was out of my head and the shop was open. 

Now that it was out of my head, I could see what had to be done. I learned how to write copy, and use tags, and take better pictures. (I’m still not great at photos, but I just signed up for an online course at Craftsy to learn more.)  I’m still learning every day.  I just found out a few weeks ago you can rearrange you shop pictures. 

So my advice is Jump in, get started and keep going.  Soon you'll be jumping for joy.



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Interesting

Mother's Day // Anatomical Heart Necklace in Stainless Steel

Steampunk cat. Steampunk kitten. Cat earrings. Kitten earrings. Clay cat. Clay kitten. Clay animal. Polymer clay. Steampunk earrings.Zentangle, Elephant, good luck, birthday, wedding, anniversary, new baby, valentine  Here are some things I find interesting.  I love this zentangle elephant.  I thinks he is gorgeous.

.These steampunk earrings are fun and fascinating.


Crochet pattern - peacock  brooch DIY  I bought the pattern for this peacock pin.  It's really interesting the way it's made.  tho it will probably be a long time before I try it.

All these items are available on Etsy


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

G is for Garden Gnome

G is for garden gnome.  My inspiration for one of my most popular baby sets.  I saw him at the store and just had to buy him.  I'm contemplating what to name him.  What's a good name for a gnome?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

F is for Free Pattern

F is for Free Pattern


This is a free pattern for those barefoot sandals that are all the rage.

Pattern:  Barefoot Sandal

Material:  cotton thread size 3 (Aunt Lydia’s fashion 3 in Maize is used in pattern)

Crochet hook : size D (3.25mm)

There’s really no gauge.  Want it bigger, use a bigger hook or thicker thread.  Want it smaller, use a smaller hook or thinner thread.

The finished size of my motif without the strings attached was 2.5 inches high by 2.5 inches across at the base.

This patten is written in American terms.

Chain – ch
Slip Stitch – sl st
Single crochet – Sc
Treble crochet – Trc
Space - sp
Row 1:  Ch 6, slip stitch  in first chain  to form ring, ch4 ( counts as first dc, ch1),  (dc in ring, ch 1) 11 times.  Sl st to third ch of ch 4. (12 sts)

Row 2:  Sl St into next ch 1 space  , ch 4, *( trc, ch 7, trc) in next sp, (ch 1, dc in next sp) 3 times, ch 1; repeat from * once more, (trc, ch7, trc)  in next sp, (ch1, dc in next sp) 2 times, ch1 sl st to third ch of beginning ch4 .

Row 3:  *In next ch 7 corner  sp, (sc, ch1,sc, ch5, sc,ch1,sc), then (ch1, sc in next ch1 sp ) 4 times, ch1, repeat from * once more, (sc, ch1, sc, ch5, sc, ch1, sc) in next corner sp, (ch1, sc in next ch1 sp ) 4 times , ch1 sl st to first sc made.  Fasten off

That’s your motif.  Now we’re going to attach the strings.

First the part that goes around the toe.  Attach the thread in one of the CH 7 loops with a sc, ch 10, sc in ch z loop.  Fasten off.

Now for the ties:  Attach yarn in a different ch7  loop with a sl st, ch 100, sl st in loop.  Fasten off.  Repeat in other ch 7 loop.

Weave in ends.  And you’re done!

Make it your own, add beads or shells, do it in three different colors, have fun!

Please don’t copy or sell the pattern.  If  your friends want a copy send them to my blog to get it.

Feel free to make and sell as many barefoot sandals as you can.  Teach your teen to crochet with this pattern.  Maybe she’ll sell them to her friends and make enough to go to that rock concert.


Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for Etsy

E is for Etsy
I love Etsy.  I love to shop there for unique handmade items. You can search for almost anything you can think of and you'll find it.  Stuff from all over the world.  I'm amazed at what  people sell.  Steampunk, vintage, jewelry, scrumptious hand spun and hand dyed yarns, clothes, shoes, makeup, and even food.

And I love having my shop on Etsy.  Every day I learn new things about selling and marketing.  I've been really active the last year on Etsy, really trying to make it successful and my products have improved so much. 

Etsy has so many wonderful things to help you grow as a seller if you take advantage of it.  Join teams, make treasuries, read the Etsy blog and put as much of it as you can into practice and you will notice a BIG difference.  I have.

Post links to your shops in the comments so I can visit and see what you have to offer.

D is for Drama

D is for Drama
I didn't get to write a post for D because of the ongoing drama at my job.  Ugh!  I don't even want to discuss it.  Let me just say, where are the yarn bombs when you need them?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for Crochet

  Crochet VS. Knitting. 

What do you like better?  I think it's moot.  I like both.  Knitting produces a nice drapey fabric and is soothing to work on.  Crochet is quicker and can easily be shaped all sort of ways.  Many times I combine the two by knitting a piece and then edging it in crochet.

The other day I was perusing books in a yarn shop and I overheard the shop owner tell a customer "I loathe crochet.  I call it crotch it cause it's so ugly.".  When I went to check out she asked me "Do you knit or crochet?"  I told her I do both but I prefer crochet.  Her response :"Hmphf."    I thought that was so odd of her to alienate half her customer base.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B is for Buttons

B is for Buttons
 I love buttons.  They pose such a world of possibility.  I see them and I contemplate what can I make to use them on?  The center of a flower? To button a  Gnome jacket? To adorn a tiny pair of baby booties?
I recently bought a pound of buttons and sorted them by color,  put them in jars, and lined it up like a rainbow on my window shelf.  It makes me happy every time I see them.

I also bought these wonderful homemade buttons off a vendor on Etsy.  Aren't they fabulous?  she cut them from a tree branch, drilled holes and sealed them.  I made a slouchy hat and used one to decorate it. 
 Do you love buttons as much as I do?

Monday, April 1, 2013

A is for Anarchy

A is for Anarchy  and Activism

What does anarchy have to do with craft?  You’ll find out more when we get to Y = Yarn Bombing, but for now my ire is up about corporate takeovers of small business and I’m going to become a yarn bomber in protest.( and also just because yarn bombing sounds fun)

It’s bad enough Walmart and the other Big box stores drive many local shops out of  business (for more on that read “Big-box Swindle” by Stacy Mitchell).  You’ll never shop at Walmart again or if you do you’ll feel real guilty.  Now hospitals corporations are doing the same thing to local MD’s offices.

I’m a nurse and have worked for over 20 years in doctor’s offices.  If your toilet overflowed and you needed to take morning off for the plumber you could talk to your boss and work it out to make the time up later during the week.  If your child got sick you could leave early to get them and your boss would say “Hope she feels better”. 

Now our office has been bought by one of the local hospitals and suddenly we work under corporation rules.  Any calling out and/or leaving early is an incident!  And too many incidents can lead to being let go!!  And maybe your boss understands but he’s no longer in charge, the hospital corporation is and they make the rules. 

What the Big Box stores did to local business, the hospital corporations are now doing to doctor’s offices.  It’s almost impossible for an independent doctor to remain in business once a hospital corporation moves in and starts taking over all the labs, xray facilities and other doctor’s offices in the area.  It’s either join up or go under. 

That’s my rant.

 And I promise the rest of the A-Z challenge will be about crafts and crafting.

 Until we get to Y.  By then I’ll have made some yarn bombs and placed them and I’ll share photos and patterns of my work.

Thanks for stopping by.  :)