Auntie Hangers

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The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.  ~Pierre Corneille

I am absolutely thrilled to have a short essay and picture published in the latest issue of Uppercase Magazine.  This call for submissions was for all artists who revel in the use of scraps, bits, pieces and left-overs!  I knew right away that I would submit my “Auntie Hangers” to share.  I use every last bit of scrap yarn I have, and these are the perfect stash busters.  I call them Auntie Hangers because I received my first crocheted hangers as an unexpected gift from my great-aunt, Helen.  In fact, you can read the whole story if you hurry and order your copy of Uppercase today!  It is hands-down my favorite magazine full of inspiration for anyone who loves to live a creative life.

In fact, making these hangers is also one of my favorite gift ideas.  Who doesn’t love a pretty, soft hanger on which to hang a special dress or blouse?

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I am in love with this latest issue because it features the beauty of feed-sack cloth its many uses “once upon a time.”  Each issue of the magazine has a small square of actual feed- sack cloth attached to the front.  It’s these extra-special details that make this magazine such a treasure!

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Happy scrapping and Happy Crafting!

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What Color Means to Me

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“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing?  Can one really explain this? No.” ~Pablo Picasso

I am proud to have a short essay and photograph published in the latest issue of Uppercase Magazine.  Issue 22 was entirely devoted to COLOR, and what a beautiful publication it turned out to be!  The Uppercase website  has a beautiful feature of the issue along with a video that you can enjoy.  The prompt:  What Color Means to Me… inspired me to write about learning to crochet as a young girl.  Crochet continues to be one of my favorite artistic mediums and choosing yarn for a project is such a happy, colorful process.

issue22-heldIf you haven’t had the pleasure of savoring an issue of Uppercase, you absolutely must treat yourself to a copy of this creative, and visually stimulating, publication.  Seriously, head over to the website and start your subscription.  It’s a gift to yourself.  Really. (You can even take advantage of the discount code “roygbiv” for $15.00 off the subscription price.)

U22-colourmeans-spread3That’s my piece in the lower left-hand corner.  (I never get tired of seeing my work in print!)

Best wishes for a colorful day!

Happiness is a Warm Blanket

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“Happiness is a warm blanket.”  –Charlie Brown

I haven’t posted many projects in the past few months since I have been focusing on finishing this throw that I started last fall.  I wanted to make something special for my God-daughter when she graduated from high school, so I found out what colors she likes the most and started  making squares –LOTS of squares!  You can find the free pattern download for the Pokey Dots Throw at the Red Heart site.

blanketInstead of using three different colors in each circle as the pattern suggests, I liked the look of the solid colored circles.  (Plus, it’s easier not to have to switch colors so often!) I used Red Heart Colors:  Shocking Pink, Medium Purple, Tea Leaf, Coral, Aruba Sea, Turqua, and Grey Heather.   I also used a size “I” hook.  The border includes:  three rows of single crochet in gray around the squares, followed by one row of each color, and finally three more rows of gray.

blanket2Isn’t it cheerful? I know it will brighten up her college dorm room this fall!I hope she loves it as much as I loved making it for her!

Happy Memorial Day and Happy Crocheting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time to Hang it Up!

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“Order is the shape upon which beauty depends.”  –Pearl S. Buck

Don’t you love it when your closet is in order and things are arranged by color and type?  Things are so much easier to find, and it’s not such a chore to plan your clothes for the next day.  (One of my pet peeves is when the shoulders of my clothes get misshapen from those plastic or metal hangers.)  That’s why I love my crocheted hangers!  I got my first hangers as a little girl.  They were a gift from my great Aunt Helen.  I used to save them only for special items in my closet, but now I use them for everything.  In fact,  I still have the ones she made me, and I’ve added to my collection over the years.  Recently, I made a whole set for a special young lady I know.  I am helping her celebrate her senior year by sending one gift a month.  This month, she received some hangers with which to hang all of the pretty outfits she will need:  Homecoming, Prom, Winter Formal, Senior Banquet…. the list goes on.  I told Mom to get out the credit card!  At least she’ll have something nice to organize all of these lovelies in her closet!

hangers3You can order the wooden hangers online, and I got this simple, classic pattern here.  They whip up so quickly and will protect your clothes and display them in style!

Happy Fall and Happy Stitching!

 

Hello Bunny!

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“For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born.” 

~Alice Freeman Palmer

I was wrapping up a gift yesterday, and I wanted to give it an extra-special touch. Lucky me,  I found this free pattern and whipped up this sweet little bunny to give it some Easter flair.  It worked up quickly and was super easy! I used Caron Simply Soft yarn and a size I crochet hook.  I think I will make more in pink, green and white.  Won’t that be festive?

bunny1The pattern came from Love the Bluebird but I changed the tail and used the tutorial from Vivid Please.

Happy Easter and Happy Stitching!

Still Feeling the Love

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“Everything’s coming up roses– for me.”  –Ethel Merman

I’m still feeling the February love.  It’s such a short month, and I haven’t lost my mood for red, pink, roses and of course, chocolate.  There are so many lovely crochet patterns floating around online for flowers, that I decided to try a rose in honor of February.  I love the way it came together, and I think I’ll try some more.  Hey, there are still a few days left in the love-month!

rose

Many thanks to Hille Knits for sharing the free rose pattern. ( I altered the leaves somewhat from the pattern so that it only had three leaves instead of four.) So much less expensive than the florist, right?

Happy February, and happy stitching!

Birthday + Beads = Beautiful

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“At the age of 20, we don’t care what the world thinks of us; at 30, we worry about what it is thinking of us; at 40, we discover that it wasn’t thinking of us at all.”  -Author Unknown

I thought I would share my latest project…. a 40th birthday gift for a friend who loves bold jewelry and bright, cheerful colors.  I loved the combination of red, black, purple and green with a few gold accents.  This was such a quick, easy crochet project using a heavy-duty thread purchased at my local bead shop.  It reminds me of a pricey necklace in the recent J.Jill catalog, and it makes me happy to have made it for less, but also to be able to say, “Here’s something I made for you!”  That’s the best part.

necklace1It’s so simple….

1. String all of your beads onto the thread.  It takes a lot of beads, so just keep stringing until you have about three feet of continuous beads!

2.  Tie a knot in the end. Start with a little bit larger bead and move it to the end.  Move the rest of the beads over and start a loop right next to your first bead with your very, very tiny crochet-hook (I used 1.75mm).

3.  Chain one, then pull a bead down.  Chain OVER that bead and then chain 3-4 times before sliding down another bead.  Keep going.  My necklace was simply one very long rope.  I then made a couple small little bead chains about 4 inches long and attached them towards the end of each side to make little “tassles.”

4.  The necklace is meant to be wrapped around the neck like a scarf, so no need to connect the two ends.

5.  Wear it with confidence.  (Especially if you are “40 and Fabulous!”)

Let’s Hear it for the Girls!

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“A toddling little girl is a center of common feeling which makes the most dissimilar people understand each other” –George Eliot

My creative side has been having fun with all of the little girls in my world.  Here are some pretties I have been stitching up for sweethearts like Greta, Allison, Sydne and a little baby-to-be that we haven’t met yet!  Here’s to spring and to all the sweet little girls out there!

Note:  I combined the following patterns, and made them my own. Thanks to the following bloggers for their inspiration!

Headband Inspiration:  http://www.tangledhappy.com/2010/12/granny-stripe-headbandearwarmer.html

Flower Inspiration:  http://crochet-mania.blogspot.com/2009/02/chain-5-join-round-1-10-sc-through-loop.html

More Headband Inspiration:  http://crazysockscrochet.blogspot.com/2010/01/free-crochet-pattern-headband-w-yarn.html

Hat Inspiration:  http://www.get-hooked.net/free-patterns/peek-a-boo-flower-hat/

The Art of Reading with Jennifer Rodriguez

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Art + Books = Bliss

Welcome to the “Art of Reading.” I’m so glad you could stop by to see a talented artist and hear about her love of reading and the books she adores.  I’ve said it before, but artistic, creative women are very often avid readers!  Hopefully, you will be able to add a few books to your “List of Books to Read,”  as well as visit her beautiful blog and see some  inspiring designs!

Stop by soon for another reader profile, and in the meantime, “Happy crafting and happy reading!”

Let me introduce: Jennifer Rodriguez

Blog or website:  All Things Belle (blog)  and Etsy Shop

What creativity do you share with the world?  I am passionate about art and creating. In the quiet wee hours of the night, when my precious daughters and husband are sleeping, I design quilt and crochet patterns as well as create mixed media art. I love playing with color in just about every media form: fabric, paint, fiber, and more. It is my dream to inspire people to take the time to create. Art and creating have an amazing way to free our spirits as well as brighten our worlds.

  • Book OR e-reader? Book
  • Buy OR lend from the library? Library
  •  Hardcover OR paperback? Hardcover
  • One book at a time OR several? Several
  • Skip ahead and read the last page OR be patient and wait? Skip
  • Abandon a bad book OR stick with it no matter what? Abandon
  • Laugh OR cry? Laugh…always
  • Cover Love: I love this cover of Wicked by Gregory Maguire

How do you acquire the books you read?  As a librarian, it is important to me to support my local library. A majority of the books I read come from my local library. In addition, I’ve recently joined an online site, paperbackswap.com, and love it! It is an amazing way to swap books with other readers across the nation.

Do you have a childhood favorite?   My childhood favorite books were the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I remember my father reading them to us at bedtime. I didn’t always listen attentively, and my mother and I tended to tease my father while he read, but it sparked my interest in books and history.

I actually DO have a favorite book!  My all time favorite book is Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I’ve had an obsession with the Wicked Witch of the West since I was a toddler. I am fascinated by the general perception that beauty equals good and unusual equals evil. I simply love that Mr. Maguire has changed the way we see Elphaba. I don’t think I could read this book too many times. And yes, I adore the musical as well.

One of my favorite quotes from a book is:                            “Don’t ever tell anyone anything. If you do, you start missing everybody”   The Catcher in Rye by J.D. Salinger

A book that changed my life is…  The book that has played the most significance in my life so far is The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. I recommend it to each and every person who is considering going into business for themselves. I’ll never forget reading it in an airport and spontaneously crying. It is extremely hard to start your own business, and this book pinpoints every reason why. I can not recommend this book highly enough.

If I could sit down for dinner with a fictional character it would be…. I would love to have a martini with Scarlett from    Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I have to know what happened after the story ended! I am not a huge fan of the modern sequel and didn’t think it ran true to her character. She has always been one of my favorite heroines; she was resilient, independent, and didn’t give a hoot about what anyone thought of her.

The last book that made me cry….  I bawled for most of  A Thousand Splendid Suns by Kahled Hosseini. As a mother, this book touched and broke my heart so many times. It is extremely well written and I highly recommend it. Just get the Kleenex ready..

 One of my favorite art/craft/how-to books is…. Sew Wild by Alisa Burke because I love the idea of using your sewing machine as an art tool. As an art quilter, I see my sewing machine as more of a creative companion rather than a utilitarian tool. Alisa gives amazing inspiration and techniques with free motion sewing.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

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And all your future lies beneath your hat.–John Oldham

Just a little crochet “show-and-tell” for a crisp, cold January day!  There have been LOTS of babies arriving in my circle lately, and I’ve been having so much fun whipping up hats for all of them.  There’s  nothing more rewarding than a baby hat…. it comes together quickly and looks so adorable on the recipient. I don’t know if they do it to be polite, but lately my parent-friends have been donning their little ones in my handmade originals.  So sweet!

These two are for sisters Anna and Ruby.  They are as precious as their names.

His-and-her bombers for big sister AnnaLynn and newborn brother Decland.

We’re still waiting for word that the latest boy baby to our school-family will arrive, but when he does, he’ll be sporting the right team colors – blue and green!

I wouldn’t know what to do without all of the generous creativity out on the Internet!  Here are the sources for the patterns I used:

Earflap Hat with Pom-Pom:  Neanners Shop. (http://neannersshop.blogspot.com/2010/10/ez-earflaps-pattern.html.)

Bomber Hat: http://www.etsy.com/listing/33857277/the-bomber-hat-pattern

Flowers:  http://crochet-mania.blogspot.com/2009/02/chain-5-join-round-1-10-sc-through-loop.html