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Saturday, February 26, 2011


Thankfully, not my own, but, again, my computer graphics card had one.  Unlike a year and a half ago, when it would have cost $300 to replace it in my laptop, this time I was able to get up and running again after only $35 (a new card from California off of eBay for the computer tower I bought after the last meltdown).  Last night was spent backing up all of my data (yes, I know, bad Phyllis for not already doing that on a regular and consistent basis).  But, you know, unexpected meltdowns can be a blessing in disguise.  I used the time to finish the Tunisian scarf project, to start on a pillow project, teach a class at Looped Yarn Works and to read my favorite business magazines Entrepreneur and Inc.  I would highly recommend both of them, especially when I'm feeling discouraged about how slowly things seem to be going for my business.  I get a lot of inspiration from the articles and learn about a lot of different (and often free) services that are available for entrepreneurs out there, even small ones.  I also remind myself that, if I were able to spend all of my time working on my business, it would be a lot different than the few hours here and there that I am able to devote to it.  We all make choices (even if it feels like the choices are made for us), and I feel that the trick to it is to accept those choices and work them to your advantage the best you can or, frankly, make new choices.  Whining is not an option!

One tool that I'm currently embracing is  I'm one of those people who comes across a website or a product, jots down the information on a scrap of paper or tears out the article or advertisement, etc., then ends up with a pile of papers that I'm paralyzed to do anything about, and seriously, how useful is the information if it's lost in a pile (but I can't possibly throw out that pile for fear of losing something important)?!  Sound familiar?!  Now, with evernote, my dream is that I can jot down a thought, copy a website address that I want to go back to, etc., and centralized it all in one space that's accessible on whatever device I'm using.  I'm in the process of setting up different "notebooks" on the site to organize and file away information.  I haven't fully explored all the possibilities yet or input all the scraps of paper ;-)  but there's potential here!  I'm not a paid spokesperson, I just hope that my experiences, good and bad, can be of help to you, and I'll keep you posted about how that pile is coming.

Ok, now, speaking of piles of paper...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

An Urban Myth is Actually Real!

I had a wonderful baby carseat blanket class on Saturday.  Two wonderful students, Pam and Jen, who learned the technique of crochet cable creation and got started on their respective projects (the pattern will soon be posted on Ravelry).  I always worry about project classes -- am I going to be able to teach the students enough of the project to really get them on their way?  are the new skills enough to make the class really worth taking?  Jen got off to a slow start because we discovered she was doing her single crochet stitches backwards, so I had to de-program her and get her to think in terms of "up and over" with the yarn.  I think she really benefitted from the class, so I felt really good about that.  Pam, who was visiting D.C. from Ohio for a convention, had the afternoon off and chose to come to my class!  Whew, talk about feeling the pressure.  Plus, she was really picking up everything so quickly, I just know she could have done that project just fine without me, but I really hope she enjoyed her visit. 

Plus, and here's where the urban myth comes in -- Pam taught me how to make a chainless foundation row!  I'd heard about this technique that allows you to avoid having to start a project with chains, but always figured it couldn't really exist or, if it did, it would be way too hard to learn and then teach someone else.  Well, it's true!!  I need to practice it a bit more then figure out a way to explain the technique in easy-to-understand written instructions, but it's my new challenge, and I will post about it when it's up on the Lifetips site :-)

Other than that, tomorrow's a day off for me (Presidents' Day), and I've decided I need a treat before I really start cracking down on my chores (taxes, cleaning, working through a pile of papers literally a foot high!), so off I go for a massage... aaahhhh, I can't wait!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Under the Sea

Ugh, I have been having some serious computer problems, but I think I see light at the end of the tunnel (or does that just mean that the train is heading right for me?!)

In the mean time, I did make a return visit to the Crocheted Coral Reef exhibit at the Smithsonian Natural History museum.  It is just so amazing and beautiful, pictures don't do it justice, but here are a few:

I especially liked the white coral reef (the first picture above) until I realized that that part of the exhibit depicts coral reefs that have turned white because pollutants in the water raise acid levels that bleach the reefs!  I hope you get a chance to visit the exhibit, here are some sites that provide more information: and

Ok, now back to organizing my files!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ice, Ice Baby!

Yes, DC is getting hit with yet another ice storm.  I'd much prefer snow -- so much safer and prettier.  But, what a great day to stay in, do some work, and crochet!  Though, I'm going to have to venture out later to conduct the second session of our 2-session Intro to Crochet class tonight at Looped Yarn Works.  I'm in the process of putting together an Intermediate Crochet class so that we can explore more advanced stitches and techniques.  Any suggestions always welcome :-)

Otherwise, more new patterns in the works, but the newsletter continues to be delayed due to "technical difficulties".  We really hope to have it out soon, especially since we've got some really interesting and hopefully helpful information to share.

The Tunisian scarf is coming along nicely:

I'm planning on writing it up as part pattern, part instructional materials.  We'll be having a class on it at Looped Yarn Works in March.  I'm enjoying Tunisian more and more, though I can't speed along as much as with regular crochet.  I have to say, I find scarves challenging -- it seems to just take FOREVER to gain length, but then suddenly, you're finished!  I'm looking forward to experimenting with Tunisian to see what other items can be made with it besides square objects ;-)  (baby sweater perhaps?!)

Ok, nice break, but back to "real" work!