Winter Color Inspiration

Lately I’ve been taking time to stop and really look at my surrounding. I’m beginning to see things I’ve never noticed before. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and I appreciate the little things more. Maybe it’s because I bought a new camera recently and I’m looking for scenes to take photos of.  Winter has never been a season that I enjoyed or that sparked my imagination, but that is beginning to change. I’ve heard it said that inspiration is all around us and I’ve never been more convinced of that!

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Wolfgang is made with a heathered gray wool mix, mustard yellow, rust, moss green, and creamy white colors. The cowl is made from two Shalimar Yarns, one called Dirty Jeans and the other Merlin’s Beard!

Lately I’ve been leaning more and more toward colors found in the great outdoors for my amigurumi projects, and nature has produced a very wide variety indeed! I’ve even noticed how the seasons are affecting my color choices. Earlier this year I began making Pinterest boards of seasonal color palettes (you can find them here – Pinterest color boards) I appreciate that talented designers from so many different industries are adding them. You can find them for home decor or weddings and everything in between! Regardless of their original intent you can use them to help decide which colors to choose for your crochet projects. Brittany from Bhooked recently did a whole podcast about choosing colors and she had so many wonderful ideas! (you can find that podcast here – Bhooked – How to Pick Colors for Your Project)

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On our daily walk with my beloved dog, Jersey-boy, I began noticing how interesting and beautiful the “weeds” are! I had never taken the time to really look at them. This particular route isn’t very picturesque but once I stopped and noticed the individual plants I was mesmerized and started snapping photos. I have no idea what their scientific or common names are but these winter neutrals are giving me all the feels!! The creamy whites contrasted with rusty and grayish browns take my breath away!

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I have never seen such a bright white fungus before! I love how it pops against the dark wood of the fallen tree limb. 

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These leaves contain colors from light peach hues all the way to deep eggplant tones. I can just imagine these colors all together in a gorgeous crocheted blanket or scarf!

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I’m really enjoying all the green colors right now. I can’t get over how many different shades there are in one small photograph!

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What looks better than bright red and deep green together? I just love these berries and how saturated the color is on this plant. 

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I found one lingering dandelion and marveled at how bright and rich in color this little flower is!

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This was the perfect pinecone specimen. I cannot get over how many shades of brown are on one scale! There are deep rich nutmeg colors all the way up to a grayish white. 

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These fuzzy weeds are my absolute favorite. I see maroon and gold tones on some of the stalks. They are so delicate and brittle and have a beauty all their own. 

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I have long enjoyed these wildflowers that are so prolific on our roadsides here in North Carolina. They must be a very hardy species indeed to be still flowering all the way into December after several freezes. 

 

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These prickly weeds are also one of my favorites. The contrast of the beige tones and the dark green is brilliant! 

I’m trying to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. I’m trying to truly see things at a deeper level not just at the surface. Typically color is what inspires my projects from the very beginning stages of planning. Nature has quickly become my first resource for making those decisions and seasonal colors are even more inspirational! Browns, golds, grays, maroons, whites, blues and greens are all on my radar currently.

For my wolf amigurumi project, from my favorite book Animal Friends of Pica Pau (you can read more about that here – Book Review: Animal Friends of Pica Pau) I decided to make him a traditional gray wolf with white accents, which is how he appears in the pattern book. Those colors are everywhere right now in my world, from the dark gray skies to the white fungus on the tree trunks. I also decided on the mustard yellow shirt which is also how he is featured in the book. For his cowl I chose white but decided to add a rusty brown and my favorite, moss green. I think the color combination is wonderful and could easily be found in the natural areas all around my home.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading my blog post and would love to hear from you! Please comment below with your ideas! What are the winter colors from your neck of the woods? Are you inspired by nature’s palette?

 

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Christmas Shop Update!

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Sometimes I pretend that I have an actual little shop on some quaint street in a historic village. Can’t you just hear the little door bells jingle when you walk in? I imagine that it has creaky old wood floors and built in cubbies lining the walls. There would definitely be a sleepy calico kitty lying in the windowsill named Mr. Mittens. I would greet you with a big warm smile and welcome you right in saying, “Come in, come in! Get out of the cold and warm up by the fire!” Because of course there would be a big stone fireplace in the corner. Ok, I know it’s not practical to have an actual wood burning fireplace around all that yarn! But just humor me!!! But until that day comes I will just have to be satisfied with my little online Etsy shop and on Friday, December 7th I am reopening with five brand new animals!

Etsy Shop link

Crispin Coati

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Before making this wonderful pattern from the book, Animal Friends of Pica Pau: Gather All 20 Colorful Amigurumi Animal Characters, I had never heard of a coati before. Of course once I began crocheting this little cutie I had to know more about his species. They are also known as the hog-nosed coon and are members of the raccoon family. They hail from South and Central America and parts of Mexico. It was my first time making this pattern and I must admit that I will be making more coatis! The unusual color work on his face is quite striking. I used the heathered colors from Berrocco Vintage yarn which is a wool, acrylic, nylon blend. His long striped tail is definitely a realistic characteristic of coatis. I changed his outfit from the original in the pattern, which was a striped shirt and shorts. I kept the striped shirt but added a gorgeous Double V Stitch cowl in a brilliant moss green, that has flecks of yellow. I love how Crispin’s long snout and little smile give him such personality!

You can find out more about the yarns I am using and where to find them here – Comparing Cotton and Wool for Amigurumi

Rita Cheetah

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Rita was another first for me! I had never made the cheetah pattern from Animal Friends of Pica Pau before.  I crocheted her from one of my favorite fibers, Paintbox Yarns Wool Mix Aran. Like the Berrocco Vintage yarn it is a blend of wool and acrylic, but it does not contain nylon. The colors are solids, not heathered, but come in SO many different gorgeous shades! Rita is taller than the other four amigurumi in the shop and has quite the striking figure. I love how the detail on her face and ears gives her such personality. She has a fierce but friendly countenance and her long legs give the impression that she’s as fast as her real life counterparts. Her sage green jumper dress compliments her mustard colored body and rose pink undershirt.

Detective Sherlock Hams

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Detective Hams played a pivotal role in solving the mystery involving Grunkle, the crocodile. (You can find the behind the scenes tell-all here) I absolutely love this pattern from Animal Friends of Pica Pau and have made it many times. I love how adding different clothes makes him look so different. I’ve even added a skirt and hair bow to make this little pig a “pigette” This time I added a cute navy and white striped shirt and brown shorts. I used the Paintbox Yarns Wool Mix Aran for him and I always choose the shade Ballet Pink for the body. Sherlock’s little round tummy and big pointy ears make him all the more huggable! He even has a surprise curly pink tail in the back!

Francis Frog

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How stinking cute is Francis Frog? I just want to squeeze him!! This is another incredible pattern from Animal Friends of Pica Pau. This was the first pattern from the book that I ever made and I immediately fell in love. His adorable expression and big floppy yellow feet had me at “ribbit”! I also used the Paintbox Wool Mix Aran for Francis and this time I made him in a bright kelly green! He has two sturdy legs that allow him to stand completely on his own. His removable shorts reveal his white and red spotted underwear!  You can check out a photo of him in the Etsy shop listing in his skivvies on December 7th!

Wolfgang

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In my humble opinion, Wolfgang is the most spectacular of all the patterns in Animal Friends of Pica Pau. I have made him three times in total and I swear I like the pattern more each time. Wolfgang is made with the heathered yarns from Berrocco Vintage and I think he looks dashing. I added a striped cowl in burnt orange, white, and moss green colors. I think the contrast with the charcoal gray color of his body looks fabulous. The embroidered detail on his ears is such a beautiful touch and adds to his overall charm.

Thank you all so much for stopping by! I wish we really could sit down in my little cozy shop and have a cup of steaming hot tea together! Until then keep in touch!

 

Defaced: Justice for Grunkle

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Detective Sherlock Hams

This week we are welcoming Officer Sherlock Hams to guest post on the Le Petit Saint Crochet blog. He is recounting the terrible events of November 13, 2018.

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” – Sherlock Holmes  – A Scandal in Bohemia

The call came in around 9:30 p.m. The muffled cries were difficult to interpret. The 911 dispatcher asked over and over, “Do you need police, fire , or ambulance?” Heavy breathing was the only sound coming through clearly. Law enforcement arrived at the residence at approximately 9:45 p.m. They knocked on the door of the quiet suburban home but the only response was the bark of dog. The back door was unlocked and as they quietly tiptoed into the house the canine greeted them with the friendly wag of her tail. The officers searched the downstairs and found nothing out of the ordinary. That all changed as they made their way upstairs. That’s when they called me, Detective Sherlock Hams.

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The team from left to right: Officer Crispin Coati, first on the scene. Rita Cheetach, police sketch artist, and Detective Sherlock Hams

It has been said that I am the best pig in all of law enforcement and I’ve earned that praise. Up until this case I had a 100% solve rate. No crime has ever gone unresolved under my watch, that is until now. Officer Crispin Coati called me at 9:52 p.m. and something about the sound of his voice gave me goosebumps. This was no ordinary crime. I arrived at the scene at 10:09 p.m. Nothing about the neighborhood, home, or interior suggested that such a heinous act had been committed.

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The gruesome crime scene

I followed Officer Coati up the stairs and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the mangled body of the victim. He was being attended by the paramedics and loaded up onto a stretcher. I leaned in close and whispered, “Who did this to you?” He could only point and gesticulate wildly with his hands. We were unsuccessful in our attempts to decipher his personal sign language. As they wheeled Grunkle away into the ambulance I  vowed that we would not stop until we uncovered the truth behind what happened to that innocent crocodile.

Officer Coati and I continued searching the house and found no one else at the residence and no forced entry points. This didn’t look like a typical burglary gone bad. This looked like a very personal attack. Whoever did this never wanted Grunkle to speak again. Several small pieces of green yarn were on the floor near where his body had been found. Pieces were found in other rooms with stuffing strewn down the stairs. This was worse than I had originally thought.

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Overhead shot of the gruesome crime scene.

As we were leaving the residence I saw the dog sitting on the couch. In that instance I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she had something to do with the crime. Partly because she had green yarn stuck to her chin but partly because her grey eyes looked at me with what could only be called, proud accomplishment. I approached the canine cautiously and asked her where she had been during the attack. She just looked at me and panted. Her collar revealed her name was Pippa, but everything else about her screamed monster. I again questioned her whereabouts during the hours of 8:30 – 9:30 that evening. Nothing. With no other witnesses, this job was going to take everything I have ever learned about detective work. I would need to dig deep if I were to ever find justice for Grunkle.

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The suspect.

Back at the precinct I got to work immediately. I called in a special task force to assist me. We hired Rita Cheetah to sketch the crime scene to help us see the situation in a new light. We created a link chart on our main bulletin board to map the people, locations, motives, and opportunities of our case.  As the days wore on, more and more strings were added to create a complicated pattern in our attempt to answer the questions the public were demanding to know.

Unbeknownst to me at the time a female feline had been doing a little investigating of her own. Magik Kitty was a regular around my neck of the woods and was known to be quite close with Grunkle and my suspect, Pippa. If I had been aware of her snooping around I would have put a stop to it at once. Thank goodness that never happened.

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Magik Kitty

I spent hours pouring over this case. For days I barely slept or ate. I could not forget the horrifying scene that was Grunkle’s face or the haunting eyes of Pippa. On November 16th an anonymous tip came in that changed everything. The caller refused to share her name but everything about her story checked out. She claimed that Pippa had been in love with Grunkle for some time and was going to express her feelings the evening of November 13th. The caller alleged that when Grunkle refused her, Pippa had attacked. It was clear from the crime scene that Pippa had something to do with the attack, I now had evidence and that golden ticket, motive. I could finally make my arrest and start the formal interview process.

Interview with Pippa

Pippa was formally charged on November 19th at 8:42 p.m. As she was being handcuffed and hauled away into the paddy wagon, Magik Kitty arrived, breathing heavily. She was waving something in her little paw. “WAIT!!!!” she screeched!!!! “Pippa didn’t do it!!” She handed me a photo and began to tell her version of the night of November 13th. When my eyes took in the images of her photo, I unlocked Pippa’s cuffs and ripped up the arrest warrant.

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Evidence

From the moment she heard of Grunkle’s terrible incident, Magik Kitty believed in her heart that Pippa was not to blame. After the crime scene had been cleared she searched the room from top to bottom and found the evidence that would clear the poor dog, green yarn on the ceiling fan. Ever since Grunkle had gotten his little gray wings he had gone flying around the room. Every day he had been told not to fly in the bedroom where the ceiling fan was because if he were to become entangled in the blades it could cause serious injury. When Magik Kitty found the undeniable green yarn in that unusual spot she knew Pippa had not been the assailant, but the hero! The reason Pippa had green yarn stuck to her chin was because she was trying to help Grunkle! The heavy breathing on the phone was her attempt to alert authorities that help was needed.

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Magik Kitty for the win!

From that day forward Magik Kitty has been a detective in training and is showing real promise. She has the raw talent one rarely finds these days. The old timers say that the last time such a recruit came up the ranks he was a little pink piglet fresh from the farm with a funny name.

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The new investigative team

*Inspired by actual events

 

12 Simple Rules for Growing a Handmade Business Instagram Account

My 12 simple rules for growing a handmade business instagram account!

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When I become interested in a subject I want to know everything about it.  I study, I learn, and I focus. My interest in Instagram is no different. I listen to podcasts, read blog posts and attend webinars all about this social media platform.  November 13, 2018 marks my one year anniversary on Instagram and so much has happened within that time frame. It seems like just yesterday that I posted my first grainy photo. I’m certainly not an expert, but I want to share my twelve simple rules that have worked for me!

How I’m Organically Growing my Instagram Account

  1. Engage – This is my absolute number one, most important piece of advice. Engaging with those who are in your niche or who take the time to comment on your post is critical for growth. When I began my Instagram account I spent a good deal of time looking for crochet accounts. I liked and commented on their photos. I responded when they commented on mine. I built genuine relationships and I continue to nurture them to this day. I cannot stress the importance of this step enough.
  2. Good photos – Please listen to me, your photos matter. They matter a lot and particularly on Instagram. Learn a little about photography. In the beginning of my account I exclusively used an iPhone 6 to take my photos. Originally I applied some pretty awful filters, but I didn’t know any better and I thought they looked nice. I began to improve and upgraded to an iPhone X which has a better camera and I stopped using filters. Recently I bought a DSLR camera, but it is not necessary for taking good photos. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have good pictures. (I wrote a blog post about photography if you are interested in learning more : How To Photograph Amigurumi. ) You can use your cell phone or whatever you have to take photos. Always keep in mind that Instagram is more visual than some other social media platforms. If you don’t have an interesting photo, people will just scroll right on by.
  3. Collaborate – Now that you’re engaging your audience and taking decent photos it’s time to connect with others. One way to do this is to share other accounts on your stories or on your feed. This is a very natural step once you’ve been engaging with others and built relationships. Featuring other accounts benefits that person but also your own followers! It’s always fun to discover new accounts! I believe in the “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back” philosophy. Don’t just be a taker, be a giver as well.
  4. Hashtags – Hashtags are a very effective way for new people to find your account. You are allowed to add up to thirty hashtags to each post. Spend some time researching which hashtags your favorite accounts are using and try them. Experiment with hashtags, don’t just use the same ones over and over again. Find accounts that will feature your photo for using their hashtag. That is a great way to get your page out there for others to discover.
  5. Consistency – Since Instagram is about building relationships you’ve got to show up on a fairly regular basis. Some people recommend posting more than once a day for optimal success but that isn’t possible for me. I post once a day, in the morning, because that works for me. I know there are apps out there that will even let you know when the best time to post. I have never personally used them but they could be a good tool for you. The point is to be consistent. Show up regularly.
  6. Share something personal, but not private – I like to know the person behind the accounts I follow. I like knowing about their life, but there is a very fine line between personal and private. I share personal things on my page. I have shared about my son’s health issues (you can read about that here: Why I started crocheting and you should too!) and about my love of my dog, Jersey-boy. But I do not share my private life. You won’t hear about the arguments with my husband or that I’m particularly gassy that day. That’s private. Always keep in mind that your Instagram place is public.
  7. Keep it classy, not negative – No one likes a complainer or a Debbie-Downer. People come to Instagram to be inspired, not depressed. There’s a way to share things that aren’t super cheery or upbeat without being negative. I recently shared about how scatterbrained I have been lately without complaining about our busy schedule or my peri-menopause. Negativity pushes people away, positivity draws them in.
  8. Use stories – I am super awkward on video. I hate the way my voice sounds and how old I look! I don’t like it at all, but I do it. Instagram rewards those who use stories, by sharing their feeds more than those who do not.
  9. Be Patient – Success doesn’t usually come overnight. Keep experimenting. Keep learning. When you hit a growth plateau don’t panic, be consistent, try new things, and be creative.

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What Not to Do!

10. Follow for follow – I have had people reach out to me and ask to follow for follow. I don’t play that game. I follow accounts I genuinely am interested in. The follow-for-  follow game is just a gimmick and won’t work long term.

11. Pay for followers – I would never ever pay for followers, which is different than ads.  Be very careful because I have heard that Instagram can find that tactic very spammy and shut down your account.

12. Make your Instagram account one big advertisement – no one is interested in seeing  advertisement after advertisement. You can have a product to sell but have your account be about so much more. The best advice I ever heard about this topic was from the Gold Digger podcast. (Link to my post about my favorite handmade business podcasts:  My Favorite Handmade Business Podcasts) Jenna recommended treating your Instagram account like you would a lifestyle magazine. There will be some ads but every page won’t be an advertisement, that’s boring. If  you are selling a product share your process, teach what you know, or share some behind the scenes.

Instagram, like any other business, is about relationships. It’s about humans connecting with other humans. Gimmicks don’t pay off. Growing your Instagram takes work, creativity, and patience but the connections and opportunities that can come from this platform make the effort worth it! How are you growing your Instagram account?

 

Trying not to be a Discouraged Maker this Holiday Season

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I’m trying not to be a discouraged maker this holiday season.

I read this blog post from the amazing Danielle at The Merriweather Council about staying sane as a maker during this hectic time of year. It totally resonated with me and I have a feeling that others will relate. Recently I have been comparing myself to the success I see in others and it can really pull the brakes on the momentum I have going on. Instead of focusing on what I have on my plate, I’ve been busy looking at everyone else’s and feeling quite sorry for myself.

I think I have split personality syndrome. On one side I am very creative, messy, and chill. Let’s call her Diana. Diana is fun and spontaneous. She doesn’t stick to a menu plan. She throws caution to the wind and tells the kids to get in the minivan because we’re heading to Chick-fil-A for dinner! Yeah, baby! My other side is organized, on time, and if I’m honest, a little intense. Let’s call her Karen. Karen never ever deviates from the plan. If Tuesdays are for tacos, then tacos will be had! Diana and Karen must not get along well because only one of them is in control of me at any given moment. If Diana is in control then my house looks like an episode right out of Hoarders but I’m happily crocheting amigurumi and can laugh off the chaos. If Karen is in charge then my house is tidy, we are on time and I get shit done.

Diana has definitely been in charge as of late and I have been in a super creative space. But because of that the holidays have snuck up on me and I’m not as prepared for them as I would like to be as a maker. Once I realized that it was only a few short weeks until Christmas, Karen pushed Diana out of the way and said she was taking over.

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Karen made a schedule so that the Etsy shop will be in full swing for the holidays. She put the Etsy shop on vacation mode and set the date to reopen on December 7th, plenty of time to ship everything before Christmas.

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The problem is that since Diana has been in charge for quite some time now, I’m not as prepared as I wish I could be. I am going to miss out on a big opportunity that presented itself  because I couldn’t be ready in time to take part in it. An awesome local antique mall (the largest in the southeast US) contacted me and offered me a table at their holiday Open House. To be able to stock an entire table I would need to have lots of animals and dolls ready made. Their Open House will welcome thousands of visitors from all over. As of writing this blog post I have a whopping total of two finished. You read that right…two. I can only make one to two animals per week and that’s if my tendonitis doesn’t start acting up (You can read more about that here: Saying Goodbye to my Beloved Cotton Yarn) That was a big huge bummer. A big, huge, fat, hairy, wet bummer. Not a nice visual, huh?

I started to feel super down about my own abilities and limitations. Scrolling through Instagram only made me feel worse when I saw how well planned and organized so many other makers seem to be. They have been preparing for the holiday season for months, while Diana has been over here flitting around in her own head!

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From the Merriweather Council Blog

“If you feel like seemingly everyone else is killing it this weekend – like everyone else has stacks of packages to ship out, orders out their ears, and everything is going just swell for everyone but you – please know that EVERYONE is on their own track. Everyone has to stay in their lane at their pace and experience their own ups and downs whenever they come. And TRUST ME everyone has downs and ups. Everyone.” – Danielle Spurge

This is exactly how I have been feeling. Everyone else is killing it and here I am picking my nose in the corner. But her quote really resonated with me and allowed me to see that I’m on my own track. This is my first holiday season as a maker as an Etsy shopkeeper. I am currently on track to be able to reopen the shop in early December and I am ok with that. Do I wish I had done more? Yes. Do I wish Karen had been in charge instead of Diana for the past few months? Maybe. Diana is definitely way more fun!

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But here I am, the beginning of November, and I’m going to take Danielle’s advice and stay in my lane, quit worrying about how well everyone else seems to be doing, and make some damn cute amigurumi. (Blog post about how you can make amigurumi too: You Can Make Amigurumi: A Tale of Two Walters)

Next season I will be more prepared. I will start focusing on the holiday season beginning in the summer or at the latest September. I would love to do some handmade markets and especially the holiday Open House at the antique mall. That will take planning and I will be depending on Karen to get me there. But I’ll make sure Diana is waiting in the wings with a double margarita and a sombrero in hand when I’ve completed my task.

Are you a Diana, a Karen, or both? Or do you have a completely different persona? I would love to hear about it!

Top 20 Hilarious Crochet Moments Described in GIFs!

1. When you’re trying to count your stitches and your kids start yelling for you…

2. When someone who doesn’t crochet gives you advice for how to make your project…

3. When your favorite yarn goes on sale…

4. When someone asks what you’re knitting…

5. When you sell something you crocheted…

6. When someone criticizes your amigurumi design…

7. When you’re stressed but you pick up your crochet hook and it all melts away…

8. When you crochet while watching TV and you have no idea what the characters look like…

9. When you find a knot in the middle of a skein of yarn…

10. When you meet another crocheter but you try to act casual…

11. How you feel after a marathon crochet session…

12. When you work on a project forever and you hate it when it’s finished…

13. When you find a mistake in a crochet pattern…

14. When you crochet something and it’s awesome…

15. When you’re in a yarn shop and have money to spend…

16. When you crochet something for someone and they don’t appreciate it…

17. When your husband says you don’t need more yarn…

18. When you go on vacation and bring a “few” projects…

19. When you can’t find your favorite crochet hook…

20. When you finish weaving in all your ends…

 

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?