Sunday, February 8, 2015

Weekend wrap-up

How was your weekend? Did you have fun? Relax? Catch up on sleep?

This weekend I didn't quite get done everything I wanted to. I had planned on taking pictures this weekend of new products while the weather was nice. Yeah, that didn't happen. Yesterday I was focused on getting orders done and today the sun was out for a total of 10 minutes.   Oh well, I have next weekend.

But, most of my orders are done from last week and this weekend. I am currently working on the last one, but it is a bit more involved than I had anticipated. I am currently writing a pattern as I go for a balaclava for a customer since, as per usual, I can't find one that I like from the thousands of patterns out there. No biggie. I love a challenge. I'll post pictures once I'm done.

Until tomorrow,

Friday, February 6, 2015

Favorite Designer: The Crafty Geekette

I am always looking for great designers. Some of my favorites very quickly become a staple in my shop.

Take my Keyhole Scarves – The pattern comes from a very talented designer by the name of Jacqualyn Walker, owner of The Crafty Geekette. Her crochet designs are fun and different. The Whimsey Keyhole Scarf is a great scarf because it works up very easy and it is a convenient design. The scarf is designed with a hole in one end, so the other end slip through, creating a scarf that stays in place. Perfect for kids and adults, it is small enough to fit in a coat pocket or a purse. To say I love this scarf design is an understatement. I’ve created variations where I alternate colors, and these scarves always sell out quickly.

Recently, Jacqualyn designed a cowl with the same design and I was lucky enough to test it for her. I made a cowl for my son and he loves it! He wears it every day in this chilly Minnesota weather and it is wide enough to cover his face. It is a cowl that can be made long or short.

Jacqualyn also has a hat, headband and boot cuff patterns using her Whimsey pattern.

The Crafty Geekette store can be seen at ( or her webpage

And of course, stop by her Facebook page,  

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Anyone who knows me knows I love yarn. It is my favorite medium. I have found very few yarns that I do not like, for one reason or another. But, for the most part, I love yarn.

I also love free yarn. One of the attorneys I work for stops by my desk the other day and hands me a big bag of odd and ends yarn. I don't know what brand she gave me, but thank you!!!! I might have to make her a market bag or something.

Before I moved, I had yarn in just about every room in the apartment. Except my son's room and the bathroom. Yes, I had yarn in the kitchen area. I just didn't have room for it anywhere else. And now, I have my craft room, with wonderful shelves to help me organize my yarn. I still have yarn in the dining room and living room (my workstation). Go figure, huh?

When you love something, it is bound to take over your life.

Studies have shown that, as I put it, playing with yarn improves your general health, physically and mentally. The repetitive motion of each stitch helps with anxiety issues and OCD tendencies. Feeling depressed and overwhelmed? Crocheting and knitting can help with these, by emptying your mind as you calmly work through a pattern. Only concentrate on the pattern. The softness of the yarn can be very comforting, lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Crocheting and knitting can also decrease memory loss. Who knew?

Sure it can be frustrating in the beginning as you are just learning stitches, and even infuriating when you find a mistake you made several rows back. But, I tell you, I feel all the stress of the day melt away when I frog (tear out) a pattern to my mistake, then spend the next few minutes (okay, a lot of minutes) winding that yarn back on the skein and unraveling all the tangles.

There are a lot of health benefits to having a hobby like mine. And, if you just want to knit or crochet and not sell your items, you can always donate them to a local shelter. Hats, mittens, blankets and toys are always welcome.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fight Like a Girl

This year’s Superbowl featured a commercial from Always talking about how “Like a Girl” should not be derogatory, but praise. I agree. “You fight like a girl” has always been an insult when told to young men. Let me tell you – women are tough.

However, with all the media trying to lift the self-esteem of young girls, shouldn’t we be trying to lift the self-esteem of all children, regardless of gender? Young boys need self-esteem as much as young girls. Girls have all these programs to lift their self-esteem and get them interested in math and science. What do boys have? Sure, inner city and at risk youth have athletic programs to put them in touch with mentors, but what if your child isn’t interested in traditional sports?

Through my connections in the dance world, I know several studios offer partial scholarships to boys to attend their dance classes. They are often paired in a mentor-type program with an older boy who encourages the younger in his pursuit of dance. But not all studios offer this and in many communities, boys are bullied when they show an interest in dancing, even though some classes are just as physically grueling as a football or soccer practice. Go watch an advanced tap or clogging class.

Young boys are often bullied if they don’t fall into the “normal” sports world, ie football, soccer, hockey, baseball, etc. My community is big on hockey, and despite being a show choir community as well, if you are not involved in hockey or another acceptable sport, people look down on you.

How about instead of looking down on these families, you encourage them. So a son isn’t interested in traditional sports – what if he is an amazing artist or chef? Encourage this. Chess club or mathlete? Mind you, these two activities can be very cutthroat, just as any other competitive sports, but why don’t we have a mentorship program for these? High school student athletes often help out in younger recreational leagues as assistant coaches or referees. Why can’t the same be true for other activities?

Why can’t we just encourage a child, regardless of gender, to follow their dreams? If a young girl wants to play football, what’s stopping her? She will work just as hard as any other player on that team, sometimes harder, just to make the team and earn the respect of a coach. I tell my son every day, “You have to practice more and dance better than the girls on your team, because the judges’ eyes are drawn to you being the only boy.” Encourage a young chess player, regardless of gender.

Here’s my challenge – ask your child what they truly want to do. Not what you think they should do in order to be accepted by the community around you. What do they want to do? What do they want to be when they grow up? My son wants to be a zookeeper. He loves animals of all shapes and sizes. I encourage this. We broke down what he needs to do in terms of school so he can be a zookeeper. He needs to get his science grades up. He needs to read books on different types of animals. He will need to go to vet school and get an MBA. When he’s 16, he will start interning at a local vet clinic, helping clean cages and take care of animals. It is what he wants to do and I support him 100%.

He wants to dance as his after school activity. I take him to every single class he needs to take, extra practices. I watch his classes so I know what he needs to work on at home. I encourage my son in his efforts to be the best that he can be. If he were a little girl, I would be doing the exact same thing.

We shouldn’t pigeonhole a child into an activity because of their gender. A little girl who would rather mix chemicals in her EZbake oven instead of baking cookies or brownies should be supported. A young man who wants to play the flute or cello should be celebrated because he has a dream and the gift of music at his fingertips. A child who wants to go out for the local wrestling team should be given the opportunity, no matter the gender.

Celebrate the child and all their possibilities.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Best Possible You

I was watching Joel Osteen the other day. Don’t ask me why – I usually don’t tune into the religious shows. But episode/message really struck home for me.

Joel was talking about having people in your life that will make you a better person, to be the best you possible. And to cut out the people who will drag you down or who don't support you. You don't need people in your life who doubt you. You need people who will encourage and support you. 

Do you have those people in your life? The people who lift you up and just make you feel better when you are around them. They aren't negative all the time. They are genuinely interested in what you do and how your life is going? They don’t give unsolicited advice, but always there when you have a question or a problem. On the flip side, do you have people in your life who are negative? Who all they do is complain about their life, but seem to want you to share in that misery? Who always weigh you down with their baggage.

I admit – I can be the latter at times. I don’t enjoy my job. Some months I struggle to make ends meet. I complain about my ex. But is that the person I really want to be? It isn't.

I want to be the positive person. I want to be the person who can listen to a friend’s problems without getting involved, but can offer a supporting shoulder.  I don’t want to be cut from someone’s life because of my negativity.

So, I am going to work on it. Work on both myself and take a look at the relationships I have in my life. Starting with Facebook. I have “acquaintances” who post pictures about drinking and partying. Yes, they are young, but do I want to be looking at that? Taking that part out, do they really uplift my life? Are they a positive influence on my life? If not, I’m going to unfriend them.

I’ve already left one Facebook crochet group this year because the posts in the group weren’t stimulating me. Yes, it was a group of people who care about each other and talk about their lives, with a little crochet thrown in, but nothing was motivating me to be a better crocheter or business owner. It only encouraged me to to post the bad things in my life, because that's all that people would comment on. So I left. I didn’t make a big deal, say goodbye or anything. I’m not going to bad mouth the group, because they are a terrific group of ladies and gentlemen, but it isn’t for me. it isn’t what I need in my life right now.

Are you willing to take the step? Are you willing to change your life for the better? I hope you say yes. 

Start small. Start with posts on your Facebook feed today. Do you like these posts? Do you get something out of the post? Think about past posts from this person? Are they fun little posts that make you smile? Deep posts that make you think? Posts that make you want to take action? Sad posts that make you somehow feel uplifted? These are good posts. Keep these people in your life. They will motivate you.

Or are they negative posts with no substance to them at all? Do you find yourself just scrolling past these posts? These are bad posts that will do nothing for you.

You can control the people in your life and you can control what you see on your news feed on Facebook.

Just take note of those negative posts. Don’t do anything right now. We aren’t being rash. We are thinking about our choices. Keep a list if you want. Later I will discuss what we are going to do with this list.

Take the step to better your life this year. We are in February. February is a good time to start with action. January’s resolutions are gone and forgotten. February is a short month. A great month for cleaning. Clean your house, clean your life, clean your mind.

I encourage you to go on this journey with me. This is a new journey for me. I’m going to start a life with positive thinking and a positive attitude. I will be the friend my friends want to be with. To have in their life.

Monday, February 2, 2015


After a long hiatus, I decided I wanted to give blogging another try. There are so many things to talk about! It has been almost a full year since I last posted. For all those still around – Thank you!

Last night was the Superbowl. I’m not sure how many of you watched the game, but it was a good game. Despite the fact that my beloved Packers did not make it in. It wasn't a blow out – actually a nail biter at the end. It looked as though the Seahawks (or the SeaChickens as I call them at my house) would score a walk off touchdown and win. Alas, this wasn't the case and a rookie intercepted the pass in the endzone. A Rookie! As my brother would say – Give that rookie a chocolate chip cookie!  We will forgive him the rookie mistake of trying to come out of the endzone. If he had been tackled in the endzone after the interception, it would have been considered a touchback and the Pats would have started on the 20 yard line instead of the 1.

And then there was the fight, with the instigating player being ejected with 18 seconds left in the game.  Seriously – you are going to fight during the Superbowl with all those people watching? How dumb can you be? All in all – a good back and forth game. I was very pleased.

I’ve noticed that there are 2 kinds of fans who watch the Big Game when their team isn’t playing. They are either the vengeful sort – rooting for the opposite team of the one who knocked our team out of the playoffs. This was me. I will never, ever root for the SeaChickens. If the Lions or the Bears were to have made it into the Superbowl, I would have rooted for them, being from our conference, if they were deserving of it – ie The team worked their butts off to make it there. This year, that team was not Seattle. How does a quarterback make it to the Superbowl when at one point in the NFC championship game had a 0.00 quarterback rating? Against the league MVP???? They didn’t deserve that spot. The Packers lost the game – the Seahawks didn’t win it. The Packers gave it up.

The second type of fan is the one who roots for the team representing their division. There are diehard NFCers out there and diehard AFCers out there. Normally, I do root for the team who knocks either the Vikes or the Packers out of the playoffs – just because they deserve it.  This year – I was the vengeful fan and rooted for the lesser of two evils. Way to go Pats.

Thus ends a very good football season. I made a lot of things during the various games. Tried new patterns, new yarn and new techniques. Now all the teams are in first place – probably the only time all next season when a particular team’s fans can say that. *coughVikescough*

Actually, I can’t be too hard on the Vikes. Yes, I do root for them when they don’t play my Packers because, after all, I am in Minnesota country and that’s all anyone ever talks about. And they have a great coach in Mike Zimmer. Norv and Scott Turner are a great 1-2 punch when it comes to coaching the offense. Teddy Bridgewater won a Rookie of the Year distinction and seems to be coming along very nicely. Yes, they have their flaws. Peterson being out for the year didn’t help. You have guards and tackles jumping offsides. That needs to stop. It’s precision and discipline. Go back to the fundamentals and work on them in the off season. And for Pete’s sake – get Audie Cole off the practice squad! He has proved time and time again how he can be a playmaker and spell Greenway.

Okay – there’s my football post until next season.