Do it Scared…Explore Your Creativity

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(Alpaca and Pig Patterns by: Animal Friends of Pica Pau: Gather All 20 Colorful Amigurumi Animal Characters)

Fear has been my BFF since fifth grade. We met in Mrs. Parker’s classroom when a police officer came to talk to us about the dangers of drugs and something I had never heard of before, child abductions. I distinctly remember feeling completely gobsmacked and confused to learn that there were people in the world who wished to do children harm! Seriously? What did we kids ever do to them? As I walked home that afternoon I was convinced that each passing car was a kidnapper on the prowl. One car slowed down to pull into their driveway, but I thought they were just decreasing their speed to get a better look at me. From that day forward the world no longer seemed like a safe place.

Fear and I continued to be in close contact throughout my life. Once I became an adult, we were completely inseparable. My fear was no longer just about my physical safety but also about what I could and couldn’t do. I was afraid of what others would think of me. I was afraid to try new things. I was afraid to be a failure. As terrible as it sounds it was a comfortable place to be. It kept me from challenging myself. It kept me from failing. It also kept me from growing as a human being.

In early 2017 I was going through a very challenging time and desperately needed a creative outlet.  I quickly learned how to crochet from watching YouTube videos and fell in love with the craft (you can read more about that here Why I started crocheting and you should too!) I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I felt early on that this was something I wanted to explore on a more serious level.

My old friend whispered in my ear that creative things were for “other” people, not for me. I pushed those words aside out of sheer desperation for something to do with my hands. I also wanted to connect with others who were seeking creativity as well. That meant being vulnerable, putting my work out into the world, and setting myself up for criticism and failure. It was time to push my fear to the side, to put it in the corner and keep it there.

Recently I heard the phrase, “Do it Scared”, and it resonated with me. This is exactly what I feel that I have been doing. Sharing my passion, my creativity, and my heart has been scary and it continues to be. I’ve heard that bravery isn’t facing an obstacle without fear, but facing it afraid. But on the other side of fear is freedom, opportunity, and self exploration.

Here are some easy steps you can take to explore your creativity even if you have to do it scared.

1. Find a Craft, Hobby, or Creative Outlet to Explore.

There has never been a better time to find a hobby that interests you. Between YouTube, Skill Share, Craftsy, and multiple other platforms, you can easily find tutorials and/or classes that will teach you the skills you want to learn. Don’t be afraid that you won’t be good at it, try different things, let go of your own expectations or perfectionist tendencies. Just have fun!

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2. Put Your Work on Instagram

This one can be really scary at first. I will admit that when I first began sharing my work, I was really really afraid. I worried that my creations were crap. I worried that people would think I was bragging. I worried that people would be hateful. I worried that I wasn’t any good and I would make a fool out of myself. Do it anyway. Do it scared.

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3. Connect with Other Creative People

Find creative people in real life and online. This step isn’t scary at all! Creative people tend to be very encouraging and supportive. Make new friends and have fun with this step!

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4. Sell your Handmade Items

This is the scariest step of all. It involves several opportunities for horrifying things to happen. But selling handmade items at markets or online is a wonderful option for making additional income or supporting your hobby financially. Yes, this one is scary, I’m not going to lie. Do it anyway. Do it scared.  The very worst thing that could happen is that your items won’t sell. In that case, you will have lots of wonderful gifts to share with family and friends. But if the worst doesn’t happen you may find yourself with another new hobby or a successful business! (You can find out more information about why I started an Etsy shop here: Flip-Flopping or How I Started an Etsy Shop)

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5. Teach a Class

Once you have built up skill and confidence consider sharing your gift with others. This step has been more rewarding than I originally anticipated. It takes preparation and opportunity but the potential rewards are huge! Making a difference in the life of another human being is an incredible feeling and you might make some cash! (You can find more information about teaching here: Why You Might Want to Become a Certified Crochet Instructor Even if You Never Plan on Teaching)IMG_1940

I didn’t know what I was doing before I plowed ahead into each of these five arenas. The point is I did it, scared and stupid. Some of these endeavors took off and some have been a slow process. Each failure has taught me A LOT about myself and about my path going forward. Do things that make you afraid. Take chances and risks. Don’t take yourself too seriously! Let’s not waste one more day being afraid.

Do you have fears that hold you back? Does the phrase “Do it scared” resonate with you as a creative?

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Princess Bernadette Bear – Free Crochet Pattern!

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My grandmother, Bernice, was an avid collector of unique teddy bears. When she passed away in 1997 I became the proud beneficiary of the collection that brought her so much joy. Every Christmas I display them on my rustic piano with candles and holiday decor. The little bears seem to come to life and bring my family the very same happiness.

The idea for Princess Bernadette Bear was born from my love of my grandmother and her teddies.  Bernadette is sweet, statuesque and simple! I created her with the beginner in mind. The only prerequisite skills are being able to make a magic ring, single crochet, and double crochet.

I also made three videos to help with sections that beginners might find tricky –

  1. Princess Bernadette Bear Tutorial for Joining Snout
  2. Princess Bernadette Bear Tutorial for Making Legs

Here is a link for how to make the tulle skirt –

Poppy Pig’s Tutu Tutorial

I hope you all enjoy Princess Bernadette Bear as much as I enjoyed creating her!! She has been professionally tech edited and pattern tested by several talented crocheters!

If you would like an inexpensive downloadable version you can purchase that here –

Downloadable Princess Bernadette Bear Pattern

Links to the specific products I used to make Princess Bernadette Bear:

Stitch Markers: 104 PCS Locking Stitch Markers, baotongle Knitting Crochet Locking Stitch Markers Knitting Stitch Counter Crochet Stitch Needle Clip with Compartment Box

5 mm Crochet Hook: Furls Streamline Rosewood Crochet Hook 7″ (Rosewood – 5.0 mm (H))

3.5mm Crochet Hook:Furls Odyssey Crochet Hook Nickel Plated Tip for Effortless Glide, Black Ergonomic Handle 3.5mm (E)

Safety Eyes:150 Pcs 6-12mm Plastic Safety Eyes with Washers for Doll Making (Black)

Yarn Needles:Outus Large-eye Blunt Needles Steel Yarn Knitting Needles Sewing Needles, 9 Pieces (Silver)

Poly-fil Stuffing:Fairfield PF20B Poly-Fil Premium Fibre Fill, 20-Ounce

Paintbox Yarns:Paintbox Wool Mix Aran

Teddy Bear Crochet Pattern - Princess Bernadette

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Teddy Bear Crochet Pattern - Princess Bernadette (5)

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Teddy Bear Crochet Pattern - Princess Bernadette (9)

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no cost to you, I will earn a teeny, tiny commission if you decide to purchase them from Amazon. These are products that I know, love, and trust. I have and will continue to recommend them regardless of my affiliate relationship with Amazon. Thank you for supporting Le Petit Saint Crochet!

A Room of Her Own: A Tour of My Little Crochet Room and What it Means to Me

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I was an Oprah Winfrey disciple from 1986 until her show went off the air in 2011. Every afternoon at 4:00 was my time and I rarely let anything get in the way. I became a mother in 1995 and Oprah became my respite. We added children to our family in 1997, 1999, and 2002 and Oprah continued to be a little slice of sanity carved out just for me.

In 1997 Oprah featured the interior designer, Chris Madden, who discussed the importance for women to have a space of her own, and she even wrote a book about it. During that time, with two little girls and a small home, I couldn’t image such luxury but I longed for the day when that could become a reality.

A Room of Her Own: Women’s Personal Spaces

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Fast forward twenty-one years and I now have that space. With two grown daughters out of the house I found myself with an extra bedroom! It certainly needed to double as a place for guests, but for most of the year it sat empty.

It was a fairly easy process to make this my little crochet room since most of the girls’ belongings  had already been either taken to their new destinations or packed away for safe keeping. It was just a matter of looking at the space, rearranging some furniture and deciding the best way to use the space for my crochet accoutrement.

The space is quite small. It’s just big enough for a full sized bed and the additional furniture is really too large for the room, but is useful. Since I only use the room for guests a few weeks a year, it works for my purposes.

Having a space dedicated to my dreams, my creations, and my creativity is a luxury I could only have dreamed of. When all four of my children were young I didn’t have the time or energy for anything creative. I barely had time to breathe. I tried my hand at a few crafts during those years but the effort was more than I could muster. I would look at women who were creative and artistic and feel a pang of jealousy. I just wanted a moment and a space to call all my own.

Now when I step into the room I feel inspired. This is my space, a place that encourages my creativity.

I hope you enjoy this little tour of my humble space, and my heart’s desire is for you to have a place to call your own one day as well!

I also love using pieces and things I already have around the house and repurposing them! The little black alligator tote below used to be a makeup caddy. It was stored in the basement and once I found it, I knew it would be the perfect spot to store crochet hooks, yarn needles, embroidery floss, etc.

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This little set of cubbies once held teenage girl DVDs, books, and beauty products. Now it is a place for my yarn. I divide them between fiber type and weight. Currently my wool blend and worsted weight bins are full to bursting!

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This little piece also serves as a nice little spot to display my certificate and pin from the Craft Yarn Council. (Here’s a link in case you’re interested in reading more about the Certified Instructor Program – Why You Might Want to Become a Certified Crochet Instructor Even if You Never Plan on Teaching)

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I decided early on that I needed a way to organize patterns that aren’t in books. I used an old bankers box that I already had, and I love the bright yellow color! Each pattern has its very own file folder.

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I use Post-It notes to label each file for easy finding later!

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I love keeping my blocking mats and spray bottle out at all times. It is so convenient not having to hunt for them or find a place to lay them out. (Link to blocking mats – Hephaestus Crafts Blocking Mats for Knitting – Pack of 9 GRAY Blocking Boards with Grids for Needlepoint or Crochet. 150 T-pins)

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I have my Simply Crochet magazines out at all times for inspiration and their bright colors make me so happy! I also use mason jars to store scraps of pretty ribbon and embroidery floss.

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I began keeping my yarn labels in order to be able to identify the color and all information about the yarn. I add a scrap of yarn to each label, which makes it very easy for ordering later. IMG_5901

I keep them all in a little turquoise bin!

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The room is not grand, or big, or unique, but it is so very special to me. Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for how you like to organize your creative clutter!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no cost to you, I will earn a teeny, tiny commission if you decide to purchase them from Amazon. These are products that I know, love, and trust. I have and will continue to recommend them regardless of my affiliate relationship with Amazon. Thank you for supporting Le Petit Saint Crochet!

 

Why You Might Want to Become a Certified Crochet Instructor Even if You Never Plan on Teaching

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It took two hundred thirty-one days from the time I enrolled in the Craft Yarn Council’s Certified Instructors Program (CIP) to the day I received my certificate and pin. In that time not only did I learn a lot about crochet, but I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I hate having a deadline, but I also learned that I will finish something if I commit to it. I learned how to make a ripple stitch and that you shouldn’t overstretch it when blocking just to make it the perfect 5″ square. I also learned that I’m a total badass when it comes to weaving in my ends!

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The Nuts and Bolts

The Craft Yarn Council’s Certified Instructors Program (CIP) is a self-paced correspondence curriculum. Students have six months to complete their crochet samples and send them in to their Master Teacher, but you have an additional six months to complete the required fifteen hours of teaching.  The program is broken up into two sections, Crochet Techniques and Teacher’s Handbook. The materials are very well organized and detailed explanations are given for each sample as well as lesson planning. The total cost is $85, but you will need to supply your own yarn, notebook for sending in your coursework, and you will need to pay to have it shipped to your Master Teacher.

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I really believe this program is beneficial for every crocheter, even if teaching isn’t the goal! First learning how to do things correctly is pure gold. The internet is full of tutorials and videos showing how to crochet practically anything, but occasionally there are mistakes. I recently found one when looking through a very popular crochet site and was surprised to see that the woman teaching a fundamental technique wasn’t doing it correctly. Crochet is also a craft that has been handed down from one person to another and it isn’t always taught the proper way. Now the goal isn’t to crochet correctly for correctness sake! Reducing fundamental mistakes will reduce big headaches down the road. It’s not to be nit-picky but to ensure a happy, stress free outcome!

The second, and I believe the most important reason to become a Certified Crochet Instructor, is because inevitably someone is going to ask you to teach them to crochet. I’m sure you’ve already experienced it!  There seems to be a renaissance in handicrafts happening around the world and more and more people want to get back to doing things the way their grandmothers did them! The availability of tutorials on YouTube is wonderful but there’s nothing like sitting down with another human being and learning how to do something useful and beautiful.

Craft Yarn Council’s Certified Instructors Program (CIP)

Have any questions about the program? I’ll be more than happy to answer them in the comments below! Thanks so much for reading and I hope you found this post beneficial!

Voltaire and the One Negative Comment that Kept me up Until 2:00 a.m.

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(For more information about the patterns in the photo above please visit my Amigurumi Pattern Directory)

I try to respond to each comment left on my Instagram and Facebook posts. It is important to me that I answer those who take the time to write a comment or to ask a question. Recently someone left a message that left me feeling pretty crummy about myself as a maker and I didn’t know how to respond. I read the words over and over to make sure I was properly processing this person’s opinion of my work.  I honestly sat up until two o’clock in the morning thinking about her criticism and trying to determine whether or not it had any merit.

I am not above critique. I actually look forward to constructive criticism and find tremendous value in it. I believe in order to become a better crocheter and maker has, and will continue to take a lot of work. I completed the Craft Yarn Council’s program to become a Certified Crochet Instructor for that very reason. I signed up for the course to gain feedback, positive and negative. I received both and learned most from the critical commentary.

But that one unfriendly remark on my Instagram post helped me to see something in myself, so for that I am thankful.  I learned that I will fixate on one negative point and ignore all the good. My family has actually called me crazy for not selling some of the amigurumi I make because there is a flaw that no one but I can see. Once I see the defect I cannot unsee it!

While pondering over my hypersensitivity to negativity I remembered a quote from Voltaire who famously wrote,

“Perfection is the enemy of the good.”

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Light bulb moment! That’s exactly what I have been doing my entire life! Literally! I’ve let perfection become an idol and good is no longer good enough. So from this day forward I am vowing to myself to do things differently.

  1. The pursuit of perfection is bad.
  2. I will fail, and it will be ok.
  3. People will call out my weaknesses and I don’t have to obsess over it.
  4. Good is not just good, it’s great!