Search This Blog

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Last Post of the Year

Hard to believe the end of the year is here and that we're starting a new decade.  Time seemed to go so slowly as a child, but now just seems to zoom by.  Well, I'm not going to get sloppy and sentimental about stuff, "it is what it is".

But, I do want to wish everyone a great new year ahead, full of fun, health, and lots of crochet!!

Today's Thought:  If you go out tonight, just be safe.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Too Soon?

Well, I've already got  a free Valentine's heart pattern posted on my Ravelry designer page and on FaveCrafts (!  It's probably too soon, but it's nice to be thinking about Valentine's Day, mainly because it means that we will be half way through winter by then!  Though I did just see candy heart boxes in Macy's today, so I guess I've got to go with the flow :-)

Also, I am extending the special pricing on the Yarn Club for Crocheters until January 15, 2010, because I've been having some technical difficulties in advertising the discount.  But that's it, so sign up soon ;-)

Today's Thought:  Having trouble keeping the sides of your crocheted blankets straight and even?  Hope this newly-posted tip on helps!  Check under the category "starting a project".

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Revamp is in Order!

As the new year approaches, I will of course use it as an excuse to try to recommit to half-done projects, to reorganize my ever-growing yarn stash, and to revamp my online presence.  I meant it when I said that technology is overwhelming -- there are new widgets, apps, and programs available every day to do things that you never thought of.  And, as each one comes out (and I become aware of it!), it makes me rethink the way the blog is organized and what I've posted, the services that I use, and whether I'm ever going to actually get my "real" website up and running :-)

But, I think all of that might have to take a back seat right now to my creative juices, they are flowing!  I'm having a project spurt and I need to just go with it.  I wish I could be more methodical, setting aside the same time blocks each week to take care of preplanned tasks, but who am I kidding?!  I guess since my day job is so structured, I let my crochet life be free flowing.  Well, it is important to get in touch with one's inner artist :-)  I hope to have pictures and patterns posted soon.

Today's Thought:  I'm going to repeat my encouragement to all the crocheters to join  It's free and easy and there are so many talented knitters and crocheters on there, sharing their creations.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Technology Can Be So Overwhelming!

So, I was thinking about the monthly newsletter that Helen and I send out each month for Many Creative Gifts and what changes, if any, we might want to make to it for the new year.  I was also thinking about how to make more people aware of it and make it easy for them to sign up and how to make back issues available.  So, I decided to do a search of "how to add email subscriptions to a blog".  The result?!  I think I've yet signed away even more of my life to Google!  Google Feedburner provides a free email subscription service (you can see it to the left) -- if you sign up, you will get my latest posts by email!  I will also add you to our monthly newsletter email distribution list.

For those of you wondering if you want to sign up for yet another newsletter, let me tell you a little bit about ours.  It comes out monthly, usually around the 15th of the month, and basically has 4 sections:  mind, body, spirit, and... crochet!  Each section tries to give a useful tip for the month, and we try to include some free recipes and crochet patterns as well.  We try hard to make it interesting and helpful, so if you would like to check it out and keep up with our blogging, then please sign up!

Today's Thought:  Amazing how white, fluffy, frozen water can bring the kid out in just about anyone!  Hope all of you on the East Coast are enjoying the blizzard (don't think about the aftermath just yet!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The 2010 Yarn Club for Crocheters!

Well, here's my latest venture -- a Yarn Club designed for Crocheters!  I've belonged to yarn clubs before, and I loved getting a surprise package in the mail, full of yarn and sometimes other goodies.  But, some clubs weren't reliable in the timing of their shipments, and often, the patterns included with the yarn were for knitters.  I haven't been able to find a yarn club that had the features that I wanted, so I decided to create my own!

Now, this club is not intended in any way to interfere with your yarn shopping at your local yarn store (like the wonderful FibreSpace!), but is meant to supplement your regular projects with some unexpected goodies and surprises. 

The plan is that you will receive a package of yarn and other goodies every other month starting in February 2010 (then in April, June, August, October, and December). I'm partnering with local and/or small fiber producers to provide you with exclusive and unique yarns that, frankly, are too hard and not cost-effective to stock in stores. Enough yarn will be included in each shipment to complete that month's featured crochet pattern for men, women, baby or the home. Special surprise treats will also be included in each shipment (perhaps a special hook for a Tunisian crochet project or a handmade stitch marker for an amigurumi pattern or a specialty tea packet to keep you warm while you work!)

And the most important parts?
- Timely and Reliable Delivery by Priority Mail by the 15th of the month
- Yarn Selections and Patterns chosen with the Crocheter in mind
- Reasonably Priced for the Quality and Value Received

I really tried to keep the price down as much as possible, but to make it a quality program, a year's subscription to the Yarn Club for Crocheters will be $210.  I am offering preferred pricing of $195 for a full subscription until January 1, 2010.  I think it would make a great holiday gift for yourself or other crocheters in your life!  We can mail or email a certificate to your gift recipient letting them know about your thoughtfulness and the goodies they will be receiving throughout 2010.

If you don't want to commit to 6 shipments and just want a "taste" of what the club has to offer, then we are offering a half-share membership of 3 shipments (February, June, and October 2010) for $125 (or $115 if you order by January 1, 2010).

Please click on the tabs at the top left of the blog and place your order today before prices go up!!  If you've got any questions, just send an email to

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Teaching Crochet

I had another great class yesterday at FibreSpace with three wonderful ladies!  Teaching crochet is fun, and I really enjoy that look of accomplishment and enjoyment that the students get at some point in the lesson.  I keep saying that it's easy to learn how to knit but hard to make anything besides a simple scarf; with crochet, it can be harder to learn, but once you do, you can make anything!

I think the hardest thing for new crocheters seems to be how to hold the yarn. The hand holding the hook should be doing nothing else but wielding the hook; it's the other hand that has to feed the yarn while holding on to and guiding the crocheted material as it's created.  I often suggest holding on to the work itself with your thumb and middle finger and let the yarn come up and over your index finger.  I'm not sure how else to describe it, and I keep experimenting with ways to demonstrate and explain it.  Leave comments if you've got any suggestions!

Oh, and I've got a new free Santa ornament crochet pattern listed on my Ravelry designer's page!  I think he turned out pretty cute --  he's also available on FaveCrafts:

Today's Thought:  I found a great website with free puzzles on it!  It's fun trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle on the computer, and they've got lots of other types of puzzles too, it's a great break, but don't let it become a time suck!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hard to believe it's already here and almost over!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving day.  I was fortunate enough to attend a wonderful turkey buffet with all the trimmings, to come home and stretch out and watch some football, and to get a start on a fun little Christmas ornament that I will be posting here next week :-)

So, til then, I hope everyone's got tomorrow off like me.  I'm planning on taking it easy this whole weekend, so you'll hear from me again next week!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Off the Wagon

Talk about having fallen off the wagon!  I'm not even sure that's the right expression, but bottom line, I have not been blogging obviously.  No excuses, but seriously, this time of year, it's just getting tougher and tougher to do everything.  Oh well, so we do what we can.

Not sure I've got anything worth blogging about -- ideas in my head, but they require a little research so that I know what I'm talking about when I write about it for you.  So stay tuned...

Today's Thought:  I just got a Filtrete air purifier, and what a difference it's already made.  The apartment is less dusty already, and odors, especially after cooking, don't seem to linger.  I found a great deal on and their processing and delivery is great.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lampwork Beads

I have been learning so much about lampwork beads v. polymer clay beads v. crystals v. all the other kinds of beads out there!  I've decided that providing crochet patterns is not enough, so I'm expanding in to project bags and crochet stitch markers, hence the new-found knowledge about beads.  I've always enjoyed jewelry, beads, all sorts of bright shiny objects, so this isn't really such a big jump for me.  And, thanks to my partner in crime Helen, the project bags are sooooo beautiful!  A sampling of our items are up on the Etsy website, so please check it out and let us know about any custom orders you'd like to place :-)

Today's Thought:  A shout-out has to go to Smudgie's Beadery -- they've got a beautiful and affordable array of beads!  Find them on Etsy as well as

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Newsletter

Ah, I'm always amazed by how quickly newsletter time seems to come around!  We've got a great sweet potato recipe in this month's issue, but I'm struggling with the "mind" and the "crochet" sections.  It's been challenging coming up with different things for mind and spirit, but it's been good because it really makes you stop and think about each aspect of your life.  It's probably even more important at this time of year, when you realize the holidays are almost upon you again, and it's going to get crazy busy pretty soon.  It's so easy to lose sight of what this time of year can and should truly be about.

Ok, I'll post more tomorrow -- it's Monday Night Football, so forgive me :-)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What Can I Say?!

I still haven't been able to take my own advice and get on a steady blogging schedule!  Oh well, you know, all I can do is just keep trying :-)

I have been working on a Holiday Snowflake Baby Hat and am in search of pom poms.  I'm thinking I might have to make my own, but it would be so nice if I could just find the perfect ones at a reasonable price at the first (third?!) store that I go to ;-)  I hope to be posting pix and the pattern on Ravelry soon!

Today's Thought:  Fiber.  No, I don't mean yarn fiber (though it's good to get your daily amount of that too), I mean fiber from foods.  It's really important to get your daily recommended amount, which is 20 to 35 grams (the average American usually only gets about 12 to 15 grams a day!).  Wheat, potatoes, most fruits and vegetables, as well as kidney beans and brown rice are all great ways to get fiber into your diet.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

If you enjoy mathematics, then you're bound to enjoy crochet as well.  Sizing hats requires a little dividing and multiplying (check out my tip on hat sizing at, but I just learned about a math concept that's great for creating striped patterns.  It's called the Fibonacci sequence, named after 13th century Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci.  In his sequence, each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers, starting with 0 and 1. Thus, the sequence begins 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, etc.  Thus, if you want to make a scarf, for example, you can work in the sequence, using either rows or inches to create the striping in different colors.  How about a simple scarf with two colors, working 3 rows in Color A, 5 rows in Color B, 8 rows in Color A, 13 rows in Color B, and so on!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Darn It!

Well, it didn't take me too long to blow it, did it?!  I wish I could be more regimented, but I guess my artistic side doesn't believe in schedules ;-)

Not to worry, I'll just pick up here and keep on going, still trying to get up as many posts as possible this month.

Today's post is about the importance of establishing good habits (now, now, those who can't do themselves, teach!)  They say it takes about 3 weeks of sticking to something every day for it to become a habit.  For someone who just blew making blogging into a habit, I already see some of the ways in which I went wrong.  First, I probably should have established a certain time at which to blog everyday.  Then, second, I probably should have set a reminder on my calendar or alarm clock or something that would remind me.  And, third, I probably should have better defined for myself the pros that would outweigh the cons of blogging (yes, it's difficult coming up with topics and putting thoughts to paper, but the upside is that, hopefully, I'm sharing useful, wanted information and making a connection with readers and am memorializing for myself the actions I've taken towards building my craft and business).

So, do as I say and hopefully as I am going to be doing!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

More Tie-Dye!

Ah, I'm getting obsessed :-)  Mainly because it's really been easy.  The key is to stay as close to the kitchen sink as possible and to rinse and wipe stuff as soon as you see any drips.

If you're just not in the mood to create for yourself, then just check out our Etsy shop to place a custom order :-)

Stay tuned, more products and posts coming!

Tip 6 -- Changing Colors

If you are using multiple colors when crocheting an item, you're going to want to make the color changes as seamless as possible.  The easiest and best way to do that is to finish the last part of a stitch with the new color.  For example, if you're doing single crochet stitches and working with Color A, you'd insert your hook, yarn over, pull up a loop of Color A, then yarn over with Color B, and pull through a loop of Color B.  You're now ready to work in Color B.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tip 5 -- The Foundation Chain

I always say that the first row is the hardest because you have to work into the foundation chains.  The best, but hardest, way is to insert your hook in between the two top loops and the one bottom loop of the chain.  This method gives the smoothest look to the bottom of your work.  If the look of the bottom isn't a factor, then go ahead and just insert your hook into any one or two loops of the chain in making your first row.

If you find that you're a tight crocheter, then working the foundation chains for the first row can really be difficult.  So, try using a size or two larger hook than called for in the pattern to chain the foundation and then switch back to the right-sized hook for the first row.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tip 4 -- WPI

I had never heard of "wpi" before but read about it today in my "Talking Crochet" free email newsletter (you can subscribe by going to  It's an abbreviation for "wraps per inch."  Literally, you determine wpi by wrapping yarn around a ruler for one inch, with each strand of yarn being wrapped parallel and next to each other.  Be careful not to wrap the strands of yarn too close to each other or too tightly, no twisting or crossing.

Once you've done the wrapping, you count the number of parallel strands within one inch.  Usually, there will be about 16 wpi for fingering weight yarn and about 8 wpi for bulky yarn.  This technique is one way of determining the density or weight of a yarn and also of ensuring that different yarns can be substituted for each other in a pattern.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tip 3 -- Standard Yarn Weight System

Speaking of the Standard Yarn Weight System, I figured I'd better go a little more in depth about it.  A number of manufacturers of yarn have adopted the system to help knitters and crocheters know what size hook to use with various yarns and approximately how many stitches will result within a 4-inch span.  Often, these manufacturers will put the appropriate symbol from the chart below on the label of a skein of yarn to tell you its weight (i.e., the thickness of the yarn).

No matter what is marked on the yarn skein label, though, you should still work up a "gauge swatch" in order to see what your style of crocheting (e.g., are you a loose crocheter or do you make your stitches tightly?) yields.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tip 2 -- Yarn Weight

It's tempting to just start mixing different weights of yarns in a project, and often you can get great results this way if it's a project in which gauge and size aren't important, like a scarf or a blanket, where a freeform style can work.  But, when you're trying to make an item where the size consistency of your stitches is important, like a sweater or hat, you'll want to be sure to use the same weights of yarn. 

For example, I'm working on a baby hat right now for which I found Lionbrand's cashmere blend yarn in a beautiful red color for the background, but I want to do a pattern in white, and, of course, the yarn doesn't come in white.  So, what to do?  The cashmere blend is considered a medium worsted weight, a "number 4" on the standard yarn weight system, so I need to find a white yarn that is also a number 4.  The weight of the yarn, in many ways, is more important than the fiber content of the yarn because it is the weight, along with hook size, that most directly affects the size of your stitches.  But, pay attention to the fiber content as well because that can affect the washing instructions of your finished item and how it holds up over time.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Apparently, it is National Blog Posting Month!  One must post at least once a day for the entire month of November.  I don't know if I'll make it, but what the heck, probably worth a try. 

So, I guess I should try to come up with some plan for November to make it worth your while to check back to see what I am blogging about each day.  I wish I could commit to creating a project a day for the whole month, but I'm not sure that's realistic.  I think I'll try to come up with a crochet tip a day -- that way, you all will get a jump on tips that I will ultimately post on the Lifetips website.

Ok, so today's tip:  When starting a hat, leave a long tail on the slip knot that you use to start your first round so that you can use it to sew up the hole at the top of the hat if you so desire.

See you back here again tomorrow!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tie-Dying Part 2!

Yippeeeee!  It worked.  I went into the kitchen this morning to undo the wrapped items.  The instructions tell you to unwrap, cut off the rubber bands and then wash the items in hot water with a little bit of laundry soap.  Since I didn't think that my neighbors would appreciate my using our communal washing machine for this purpose, I just prepared a dishpan in the sink with hot water and soap and dunked each item separately in there after unwrapping.  I then rinsed each out and hung them up to dry.  I put on my thicker rubber kitchen gloves for this stage because I didn't think that the gloves included in the kit would protect my hands sufficiently when I was washing the items in hot water, and it was no problem. 

So, I think everything turned out pretty cute :-).  In fact, the following two items will be available on my Etsy shop for purchase or custom order.  Here are the pink yoga pants that I did circles on.

And the baby onesie that I did with circles in orange, pink and purple.

And the t-shirt that I think I'm going to keep for myself!

Mmmm, now I think I want to try a series of items in a yellow, green, blue palette.  Ooooo, a whole new world has opened up to me  --  thanks Tulip!  Oh, and if you decide to give it a try yourself, go to to order your kit and enter the code “fave1009” for free shipping at checkout (which expires 11/30/09).  Happy Tie-Dying!!

Today's Thought: really is an amazing, FREE website for all things crafty.  They are constantly coming up with new ideas and new contributors, so it's so worth checking back often!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tie-Dying Part 1

Ok, so the kit arrived, and I was faced with going through with this!  It's from Tulip, and it's called the SuperBig One-Step Tie-Dye Kit. 

I thought about dying some yarn and then crocheting something with it, and Tulip also provides an eBook through the FaveCrafts site ( with a lot of projects in it (frankly, that's where I got the yarn dying idea, but chickened out!).  But, ultimately, I decided that I would do some traditional tie-dye projects.  I ordered some t-shirts, baby onesies, and yoga pants from and they got here in one day!

So, while ghouls and goblins were roaming the streets tonight, I was creating some scariness of my own.  Actually, my biggest fear was making a mess in my white and light grey kitchen, but what good would the kit be if that wasn't anticipated?!  I have to say, the kit is pretty well stocked with a plastic tarp, multiple pairs of plastic gloves (which are a little bit thin and big, but they do allow you to have the needed dexterity, so they ended up being fine), 8 plastic bottles and I'm not sure how many dye packs, but there were plenty of colors in there.  I decided to go with orange, pink, and purple.  I made the orange by mixing some of the yellow powder with the pink powder.  I put about a teaspoon of dye powder into the plastic bottle and filled with water to the top and closed the top and shook to really mix it up.  The instructions say that you've got about 45 minutes in which to use the dye; after that, it starts to lose its effectiveness.

The instructions tell you to wash the items that you are going to dye first (and a friend told me to stick with all cotton), so I handwashed the all-cotton items that I decided to do in these color combinations (1 t-shirt, 1 onesie, and the pink yoga pants; I decided to keep the other items in case this works and I want to try other color combinations).  Then, while the items were still damp, I wrapped rubber bands (which are also included in the kit) around parts of the items to create the sections where you are supposed to apply the dye.  Then, you lay out the items on paper towels on top of the tarp and start dying.  Now, here's where it gets tricky -- it's very easy to drip the dye in areas you don't want while you're squeezing the bottle to saturate the areas you want to cover.  But, overall, I think I managed to not get dye all over the place or on myself.  Clean-up was pretty easy also, I just kept putting everything in the sink after using, then I rinsed everything thoroughly and set aside to air dry.  As long as you rinse and wipe down stuff quickly, the dyes seem to wash away.

Ok, well, now I have to keep you in suspense (and myself) and ask you to return tomorrow to see how it all turned out because, after dying the items, you have to wrap them in plastic and let them sit for at least 4 to 6 hours according to the eBook (the instructions in the box say 6 to 8 hours).

Today's Thought:  Take it easy on the Halloween candy, happy Trick or Treating everyone!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tie Dye!

How long has it been since you've thought about tie-dye?!  I think it's making a comeback, and I'm excited about giving it a try.  The FaveCraft folks contacted me to see if I'd be willing to try out a tie-dye kit from one of their partners.  It should be coming in the mail any day now, and I'm trying to think about what to make.  If anyone's got suggestions, please let me know, and keep checking back here to see my progress!

Otherwise, I'm getting ready to post a new pattern for a boy's baseball cap and am finishing up the resizing of the little girl's sweater dress for 5 to 7 year olds.

Yikes, Halloween is a week away!  Not sure what's going on this year in terms of costumes, parties, etc., but if there's anything worth reporting, I'll let you know ;-)

Ok, I'm off to pay bills and take care of those mundane but necessary tasks that always crop up on a Sunday night.

Today's Thought:  Just got a Filtrene Air Purifier!  Not sure if it's just psychological at this point, but I'd swear that the air does seem lighter somehow.  Got a great price and fast shipping from  This brand of air purifiers and filters is made by 3M and has gotten great reviews, so if you're in need, check them out!

Monday, October 19, 2009

30 Hours a Day

That's how many I think I need in order to actually do everything I need and want to do!  But, if there were 30 hours in each day, could we still get away with sleeping only during 8 of them?!  Well, why bother even contemplating because, unless the earth goes spinning off its axis, my dream of more time per day is not happening.

I need the time because I have so many project ideas going through my head and want to work on them all but the mundane things in life keep infringing on my creativity ;-)  I guess my beef with time is no different than everyone else's, but I just had to get it off my chest. 

So, I am making the best use of my time by concentrating on my Ravelry account and trying to post more and more crochet tips on  I've added a new section on Books and Magazines, hoping to be able to share my views on the various resources out there.  I did notice today that the Crafts section in the Barnes & Noble in downtown DC seems to have expanded, and there was a better-than-usual selection and variety of crochet books.  I had to stop myself from picking up any new ones, considering I have a shelf-full at home that I still need to access.

Anyway, just a quick post to rant and give you a preview of what I'm working on.  More to come as always, stick with me :-)

Today's Thought:  Speaking of time, using an egg timer periodically to time how long it takes you to do certain tasks is a great way to prepare yourself for those times where you're bemoaning the fact that you've got 10 minutes "to kill" and don't think you can get anything done in that time.  It's amazing how much can be accomplished in 10 minutes -- time yourself and see!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Columbus Day!

Ah, a day off...  Can't say I did anything profoundly wonderful with it, but it was nice to have :-)

I've been posting patterns on Ravelry -- it's so much fun to see which ones people "heart"!  I'm resizing the little girl's sweater dress to fit 5 to 7 year olds, so that's been keeping me busy, but I'm already trying to figure out what my next design will be.  The survey vote ended up not having a conclusive category winner, so I guess it gives me leeway to go wherever my creative juices take me.  I'm thinking I should come up with a project that men might like, either to receive or to make for themselves.  It'll be a fun challenge.

I've also been thinking a lot about Twitter.  I got a Twitter handbook that's supposed to outline how to best use it for business purposes, but I'm still not convinced it's something that will be productive.  Though I am intrigued by the requirement to express one's thoughts, etc., in 140 words.  It's so much harder to be succinct and to the point than to ramble on (as I'm sure I've demonstrated many times here before!)

Ok, time to go pay some bills and squeeze a little more out of my three-day weekend!

Today's Thought:  Freshbooks is a great service if you need an easy and organized way of invoicing clients.  It's easy and free to set up an account for up to 3 clients and can easily be upgraded for more services.  The accessibility of personal service is impressive as well.  Check them out here at

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Well, it's been a busy few weeks.  I've been really pushing hard to get my ravelry account in order, to get some new patterns into the template and up on my Lulu account, and even teaching some beginners' crochet classes.  It really is so fun, watching people as they get the hang of it and figure out their own personal way of doing it.  I always keep encouraging the beginners to keep practicing and to RELAX, this is supposed to be fun and stress-free, but it's hard not to tense up when you're learning something for the first time, especially something physical.

Also, I just got the Fall issue of Interweave Crochet magazine -- what a lot of beautiful projects and great tips.  Which reminds me, time to go put up some more helpful tips on the Lifetips website!  I tried getting myself to put up 2 tips a day, but I just don't work that way -- I need to get inspired and then put up a whole bunch all at once, then let it sit.  Dah!  It's not good, but what can I say?  Well, I guess as long as I get inspired often enough, it'll be ok.

Ok, perhaps I can go generate some inspiration :-)

Today's Thought:  It's late summer/early fall, so it must be ragweed season!  Here's a great website with information about ragweed allergies, how to tell if you've got them, and what to do about it! 

Friday, September 18, 2009

Getting Serious!

Ok, I have finally started to try to figure out my Ravelry account! It's certainly much more user-friendly than it was when I first joined, but I'm still not getting some of the functions. Oh well, thankfully, there's a lovely volunteer team of editors who come to your rescue and make everything work out :-)

Haven't really had a chance to work on any original designs for the past week or two, I have been too caught up in beefing up the Crochet Guru site as well as sprucing up the patterns that I do have and getting them up on Lulu and Ravelry. I think I have an idea for another little girl's sweater that I'm itching to get started on, so maybe that will be next; or, I probably should start on the scarf to go with a hat that I made out of the latest issue of Crochet! Magazine for a friend's little girl. She sent me a huge bag of yarns in exchange, and there's a lot of good stuff in there! So much yarn, so little time...

Ok, back to what I don't know, but I'll try to post again soon.

Today's Thought: Mmmm, it's getting to be apple and pear season, and there's nothing like spiced baked fruit! Check out our easy and healthy recipe on

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Dah, it's already September!

Seriously, how did it already turn into September?! This summer was such a bust in many ways -- the weather was not conducive to a lot of pool time, and it was just plum busy at work too.

Oh, well, that's the way it is. Fall can be such a great time of year, so I comfort myself in holding on to that thought. It does put one into the crocheting frame of mind also, so that's a good thing :-)

So, I saw "Julie and Julia" recently, and it really got me thinking on how I could jazz up this blog and become more dedicated to it. But, there are only so many hours in each day, and with trying to create and write up some new patterns (they look great thanks to my graphic artist Elise Anderson, who came up with a great template for me!), coming up with more tips for the Lifetips website, and just general living, keeping up with the blog has been rough. But, as I said, the Fall has a way of getting one into a serious state of mind, and it often is my most productive time of year.

Oh, so back to the movie and how to implement a Julie-like challenge (for those of you who have not yet seen the movie, and it's worth seeing, Julie Powell decides that she is going to make all of the 500+ recipes from one of Julia Child's cookbooks over the course of 1 year and blog about it). I thought about picking out a crochet book and trying to make each of the patterns over the course of a month, but it's so hard sometimes to predict how long a pattern will take to make. I really don't want to set myself up for failure, so if anyone's got ideas about realistic challenges I can undertake, please leave me a comment!

In the mean time, I have been challenging myself to add at least 2 tips a day as Crochet Guru to the Lifetips website, so keep checking back there -- I hope to have some really out-of-the box helpful info there over the next few weeks!

And, keep checking back here as well -- I might just have a blogging challenge to undertake too!

Today's Thought: Mmmmm, if you want a yummy and healthy treat, then check out Treet. It's a wonderful online bakery of delicious cookies, cupcakes, and more! Find them at

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Farmers' Markets, FitTV, and Hair Removal Have Changed My Life!

I have always found blogging to be difficult, probably because I always ask myself "does anyone really care about what I have to say?!" Well, I think I have something really worthwhile to share for a change! And the title really does say it all.

After seeing the movie "Food, Inc.", I really couldn't keep shopping at the grocery store any more. It's frightening how food is mass produced in this country, and the movie just focused on beef and chicken (oh, and high fructose corn syrup, which is a wholly different frightening revelation). Thankfully, here in the District of Columbia, we have many farmers' markets, and one literally across the street from our condo recently opened up on Saturday mornings. We've been getting our fruits and vegetables exclusively from the farmers' markets, and we've been eating more grass-fed meats (including buffalo!) My husband was commenting that, with this one change, he's already lost 10 pounds (he's got a bit more to go, but it's a start :-) I've been enjoying experimenting with different recipes and ways to prepare the produce that is available each week.

So, the healthy eating also has made me focus on getting more exercise. I've been walking a lot lately, and I've even been trying to avoid the elevator or escalator and take the stairs. But, really, that's not enough, and we all know it. And, it turns out that channel surfing can pay off ;-) I came across FitTV, a specialty station created by Dicovery Health. It's got exercise classes, cooking shows, and eco-friendly programming as well. Hard to not give it a try when it's just there, right in front of you (and you get the commercial time to take a break!). I've tried out the kickboxing show, the bhangra workout, and good ole ab crunches!

Ok, so where does hair removal fit in to all of this?! Well, it turns out you can save a lot of time, aggravation, and pain if you don't have to worry about plucking your eyebrows or dealing with the 'stash! You hairy ladies out there know what I am talking about. I came across a kiosk at Tyson's Corner mall for "threading". It's a process by which a very skilled woman (in this case) uses two pieces of thread, by quickly rubbing then together, to remove hair and shape your eyebrows (works for the lip and other facial hair as well). I just had my brows done because I've been having the permanent (hopefully) laser hair removal for the lip area. I've had two of four treatments so far, and there has already been such an improvement. It's just so nice to not have to worry about having facial hair and not to have to spend a lot of time on it! Just psychologically makes me feel better too...

Anyway, I wanted to share how making some small changes have actually made big differences in my physical and mental wellbeing. I will share more as I continue to explore other life-enhancing items that I come across.

Today's Thought: Shepherd's Wool is a worsted weight yarn made in Michigan that is super soft, a pleasure to crochet with, and reasonably priced. If your local store does not have it, check out Debbie McDermott, the owner and operator, and her website at

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A New Project on

So, my angel ornament is now available as a free download at my Lulu shop and on! It turned out pretty nice if I do say so myself! It was a fun way take an idea and interpret it my way. I find that those are the most satisfying projects for me -- someone gives me an idea of what she's looking for, and I give it my best shot. Anyway, it's probably too early to be thinking about the holidays, but the pattern's there when you want it!

Today's Thought: If you are in Denver or happen to be visiting, be sure to stop by the Lamb Shoppe, a beautiful, friendly yarn store/cafe!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Crochet Guru!

Yup, that's my big announcement -- I am now the Crochet Guru on! Every day, I've been trying to add in more and more crochet tips, and there's a nice little collection of them so far. Please check it out and keep coming back for more!

In other news, I've been working on the cookbooks. It's been slow going because we've been testing out the recipes, doing research, typing up our findings, and trying to learn a new computer program. I long for the day when I can just spend my days pursuing my creative endeavers rather than workin' for a living, but alas, it'll be a while I think. I still consider myself so fortunate though to have a wonderful "real" job and some time and energy to pursue MCG matters :-)

Today's Thought: Inga Mertens has come up with a beautiful handbag made from granny squares! Her pattern can be found at

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Very Wise Words

I just came across a newspaper clipping that I've been holding on to, but with the benefits of having a blog, I can post and share with you and preserve it for myself without the clutter! "Shelly in Oregon" wrote to Caroline Hax, the author of an advice column Tell Me About It in the Washington Post with these two tips:

1) If something can't be fixed in 5 minutes, then don't mention it. So, for example, if there's an unzipped zipper, parsley in someone's teeth, crumbs on a shirt, it's fair game to bring to someone's attention. Height, weight, stain on clothing, size of nose -- all off limits!

2) Are you gossiping or not? If you're not part of the problem and/or part of the solution, then there is no need to be discussing it with anyone.

Ok, so go forth and behave yourself!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Already?!

I can't believe it's already Memorial Day! May has been a cold and wet month here in D.C. this year (much like last year actually), so it's hard to accept that spring is practically over, and we're just going to hurdle towards the summer already.

This blog has been sorely neglected, but it's about to experience a resurgence because I'm going to have lots of things to specifically report on very shortly. Helen and I continue to work on the recipe books, and I've just become the Crochet Guru on! Now, I know you're asking "Who's Helen?!", "What recipe books?!", and "There's a!" Patience my friends, all of your questions will be answered soon, you just have to come back and visit more often ;-)

For now, just have a fun, relaxing Memorial Day, but be sure to take the time for a moment of remembrance during the day for our service men and women.

Today's Thought: It's strawberry season -- try our Strawberry Gazpacho recipe! You can find it at

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax Day Cometh ... and Goeth!

Happy April 15th! The weather definitely matches the mood of the day -- rainy and gray. I don't know where the time goes, hard to believe it's been a month and a half since my last post.

Well, I have been busy -- I've taught two crochet classes and have been working on my newest project, cookbooks! Yup, a friend and I have taken the plunge and have teamed up to put some of our nutritional knowledge to work. It's really been fun, and no doubt, you will be hearing more soon!

Today's Thought: Two kiwi fruits have twice the vitamin C of one small-sized orange!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Etsy Hookers

Ah, there are so many "hooker" jokes amongst the crocheters, but hey, who am I to spoil the fun! Actually, it's a really nice group of Etsy shop owners who specialize in crochet, and I've decided it's time to get more active as I keep trying to figure out exactly what it is I want to be when I grow up :-)

I'm definitely starting to veer away from a crochet-centric approach and expanding into a more holistic view of life, leisure time, and business opportunities. We'll see where this adventure takes me, but for now, I'm just enjoying exploring and keeping my mind off of the media-fueled depressing news these days.

I will post more shortly, just as soon as I figure out exactly what it is that the 'Hookers' want me to do with my Flickr account!

Today's Thought: Our newsletter is about to make its debut! After all, March is National Crochet Month. If you'd like to subscribe, please just leave a comment to this post, and I will add you to the list! Thanks.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Yeah, I know it's already over, but February is just whizzing by! I've been flailing around a bit lately, just trying to figure out what to do next. I've been distracted from crochet by the need to eat well and exercise. Remember those New Year's resolutions we all made about a month and a half ago?! I'm still struggling to implement :-)

I am working on one very interesting project right now -- a crocheted vase! I'm using a stiff yarn and smaller-than-usual crochet hook so that it will support itself and be sturdy. I'm thinking I'll make the neck of it so that a glass tube vase can be slid inside in case anyone wants to put real flowers on display. Here's a picture of the beginning, though I've actually made progress from here. More pictures will come :-)

Today's Thought: Rosy Likes Red is such a fun band! Check out their MySpace page to hear some of their new tunes!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Memories of the Inauguration

So, just published my article on the inauguration on Associated Content! And I've actually gotten 2 recommends :-) Look for it over in the left column.

And, last night was my first crochet class! Three lovely women signed up for my Introduction to Crochet class, and I think it went well. They were pretty fast learners, so it was actually pretty easy. I think it helped that all three had had some knitting experience, but it is quite different. I can relate to their stress because I'm the same way when I'm trying to knit. Anyway, I really enjoyed and I hope they did too. I'm going to check on them later in the week because I'm afraid they're going to forget everything we went over (I packed a lot into the 2-hour class!). I've got to figure out a way to help reinforce the class lesson. Mmmm, maybe I'll create my own videos -- yeah, right. Actually, I really don't need to, the ones on are really good. Ok, now off to work!

Today's Thought: It's snowing here in DC! So, if it's snowing where you are, take the time to play!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

We're Now on Flickr!

Ok, so I've finally managed to set up a Flickr account for Many Creative Gifts. There should be a link located over in the left-hand column. I've tried to put up a variety of projects, and I'm sure there's much editing, rephotographing, labeling, etc. to be done!

Sorry for the short post, but gotta get back to work!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Review Stream

Ok, you know by now that I am always looking for angles to generate "multiple streams of income" (hey, it makes up for all the $$ I end up wasting somehow or another!). So, now, I've come across It's a site on which you can either check out reviews by other people about travel, products, etc., or write some of your own. If accepted, you get $2. I just finished and got accepted two reviews, which I hope you will check out and vote for!

What else have I been up to? Besides freezing and trying to finish up my "Introduction to Crochet" book, not much else :-) (I guess this is what you call a teaser~) I decided to have a handout for the folks who attend my crochet through Knit-a-Gogo, and it seems to have taken on a life of its own (15 pages and counting!), so stay tuned on that.

Today's Thought: One more pitch for -- check it out!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ramping Up!

So, I'm starting to get nervous! I'll be giving my first crochet class for Knit-a-Gogo in about 2 weeks! I've been preparing, mainly by putting together an outline of the topics I want to cover in those 2 hours, but with even more information in it that the students can take home with them and refer to later when they're on their own.

It's really been fun in a way, thinking about the process through which I went to start crocheting. I'm looking forward to helping others learn too -- it's such a great life-long hobby, activity, way to de-stress, however you want to look at it.

I keep working on the business as well. I've gone back to the materials and coaching that Frederic Patenaude provides. I really like his approach. He's not necessarily telling you anything you don't already know, but he's very encouraging but realistic and helpful in getting your thoughts and actions organized. His primary focus is the natural health movement, but his advice relates to any type of business someone might want to start. Check it out!

Today's Thought: Persimmons are very high in antioxidants and are really tasty, but be sure that they are very ripe before you eat them; otherwise, they can be bitter and have a weird texture and aftertaste!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

We've Got a Facebook Page!

Ok, so I've finally gotten lured onto Facebook! I have to say, it's pretty cool and easy to load pictures, post events, etc. I'm also creating a link to the blog by getting "verified" (that's what the little widget on the side is all about). Whether this business ever really takes off or not, I really have learned a lot through the process -- website layouts, how to create html widgets, posting and linking -- techie terms are just rolling off my fingers!

Anyway, if you're a member of Facebook, please search out our page, take a look at our photos, leave us a comment, enjoy!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year, New Challenges

As I continue to feebly prepare myself for going back to work for a whole 5 days in a row (something that hasn't happened in a while ;-), I find myself madly organizing, doing laundry, all the mundane stuff that gets put off til it can't be put off any longer. I think I'm almost actually "there", wherever there might actually be (clean clothes, no dishes in the sink, etc.). All of this of course is an attempt to avoid tackling the worst job of all -- cleaning off my desk and filing away all the paperwork, endless paperwork! I can't seem to stay ahead of it, but I keep trying to remember the tips I learned in Getting It Done by David Allen: try to touch each piece of paper only once (either take care of it if it can be done in 2 mins or less; file it in your file system for later action, or throw it away). Not sure I'm managing the one-touch thing so well, but the inbox on my desk is close to empty. I'm also trying to consolidate all those little bitty pieces of paper onto which I jot down "important" websites to visit or ideas to pursue. I've now got a big ole spiral notebook (yes, that's right, the old school spiral!) to write them all down in AFTER actually checking it out to see if it's worth keeping. A little pat on my back :-)

Today's Thought: PayPerPost has some new deal where both you and I can earn $$ for reviewing blogposts. Here's the link

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year!

Can't believe how time is flying by! Well, like it or not, 2009 is here. Once again, I'm trying to get "things in order" to start off the new year in a serene, stress-free way (yeah, right, that's going to last long). Anyway, so, I'm going through my piles of catalogs -- I can't bear to throw them out before at least flipping through once, so piles is a literal description. Sometimes, I do get ideas for crochet projects or color combinations, or language for product descriptions, etc., so I think of sitting and looking at catalogs as "business time" ;-) I have to say, I came across the funniest exerpt in Wisteria, a catalog of antiques and decorative items for home and garden. The item is a (beautiful) leather and stainless steel chaise lounger (though I think I would prefer a smoother leather than the distressed look of this one). The description starts "Why be a couch potato when you can be a chaise frittata?" Chaise frittata?! Somehow, I don't think that's going to catch on and become a part of the English language lexicon, but it did make me chuckle (and get really hungry!), so I thought I would share!

Ok, that's all I've got for now, but blogging is one of my NYRs, so stay tuned! And, thanks so much to those of you who verified my authorship for Facebook's blog app (the rest of you, get on it!)

Today's Thought: Go Falcons!! The playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals is on at 4 PM EST.