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Friday, June 28, 2013

The "Farm"

Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that I have a "farm", aka a few pots out on my balcony ;-).  I spent a lot of time and even more $$ to get things set up this year, but I am so happy that I did. I've got tomatoes, eggplant, Serrano peppers, chocolate beauty peppers, and an Asian melon plant!  So far I see tomatoes, serranos, and eggplant emerging. I love going out on the balcony each morning and afternoon, fussing over and watering the plants. Then, in the morning, I sit for a bit with my mug of chai; in the evening, I sometimes take a glass of wine out with me. Aaaaaah.

I use those Aqua Globes AG011706 Glass Plant Watering Bulbs, 2-Pack also. They really do work, though supplemental watering is still necessary I think, especially on hot days. And they look pretty :-)

And I saw a lady bug on a leaf the other day, that's got to be a good sign too, right?

It's funny though, I don't crochet out on the balcony. I think it's because I don't want to expose my project to the elements, and I can just see me knocking on my neighbor's door, 5 floors down, "excuse me, might I retrieve my ball of yarn from your patio?!"  Nope, I use the farm as my escape to unplug, unwind, and look around and see what's going on around me. Aaaaaaaah.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Rose Valley and Princess' Wool

"My Rose Valley" is a beautiful blog by a Swedish woman living in Switzerland with her American husband and three children. She covers all sorts of crafts and has some great crochet patterns. I especially love her Maybelle Crochet Flower that she is working on translating into Swedish in her latest post (her English is so good).  I aspire to have such a seamless, special look to my blog. Mmmm, it might be time for some more revamping...

On another note, I just got the shipment of chunky yarn made from Princess' wool (remember, this year I said I was NOT going through that whole skirting and cleaning process again!  I still haven't carded, much less spun, her wool from last year). There's a lot of yarn in that bag!  I can't believe this is it, that's all the wool that I'll ever have from her :-(. So, that just means that I will have to come up with a really special crochet project for it!  Help me decide what to make!

Friday, June 21, 2013


That's it really, just remember to breathe today :-). Deep, cleansing, healthy breaths. Count at least to 4 or 5 as you inhale, then even more slowly as you exhale. No matter where you are or what you are doing, at least three times today, stop and breathe. You'll feel better and be able to get back to the task in a new light. Just breathe!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Round Up of Crochet and Knitting Tutorials

I found myself aimlessly wandering around Facebook this morning but soon found that there was purpose to it after all!  Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in your current CAL or design project, but it's worth taking the time to go back to basics and learn or brush up on some basic and not so basic techniques.  I think it helps in getting the creative juices flowing again.

The first ones I came across are actually mainly knitting tutorials, but I find that knitting demonstrations make me start thinking about how to achieve a similar effect through crochet.

Juniper Moon Farm has a great round up of tutorials, including one on how to crochet an i-cord.

The Crochet Geek has an amazing collection of crochet tutorials, many of them geared towards beginners.

And this Pinterest board says it all:  Beginner Crochet Tutorials

Please visit my Many Creative Gifts YouTube channel for a growing collection of crochet tutorials too.

So, I hope these resources will help you try some new crochet stitches and techniques and brush up on some that you hadn't thought about in a while!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bargello Crochet

So, I came across this crochet technique tonight as I was catching up on Facebook posts on my page.  It's called Bargello (Florentine) Crochet since it is based on the needlework technique of the same name.  By using multiples of some basic crochet stitches at various heights and widths, you can create a pixelated effect and the illusion of waves. Bobwilson123 has created a free video tutorial, and you can download the written pattern for free from this link on her website.  Mmmm, I'm getting inspired, watch out!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Editorial Calendar

One of the things I struggle with is posting on a regular basis. It's not that I don't have lots of things to share with you, but for some reason, when I sit down at the computer to compose a post, all the ideas go flying out of my head. But, the other day when I was reading Smartbrief for Social Media, I came across an article about "editorial calendars" and a step-by-step approach to creating one.  [update:  here's the link to Sprout Content and the free ebook download]

Basically it's a way of planning out the content and timing of posts ahead of time. The process wants you to first think about your target audience and what they would want to read. Then, figure out two to five specific categories of information on which to concentrate. And to finish, get it scheduled on a spreadsheet, with dates, post titles, and social media links. But, of course, the most important step is going to be sticking to it!

I am committing to go through with this process and share it with you because YOU are my target audience :-). Let's see if I can describe some of you properly, but that will be the next post.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lion Brand Cotton Ease Yarn Giveaway and 2 FREE Patterns

I'm such a lucky crocheter!  AllFreeCrochet contacted me about trying out Cotton Ease yarn by Lion Brand.  I had actually already used it before and love it.  You can read my full review of the yarn here, enter the contest to win some yourself here, find my Radiance Lap Throw pattern here, and the Baby Hoodie Sack here.  Enjoy!!