Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Little Extra To Make Your Project Pop

I had crocheted this little sun dress from the book Simple Crochet for Cherished Babies by: Jane Davis. I'm using this as an example of what a difference between not finishing the edges off (in this case with single crochet) and finishing the edges off. Looking at the picture you can see the difference in the look of the dress without the single crochet around the neckline and the armhole edge. It looks plain and unfinished. Then when you see the dress with finished edges it makes a world of difference just using one simple stitch.

I bring this up because this is another area that can be addressed as we do our projects. Even if the project does not call for an edge stitch, will the project look more finished if an edge stitch is added. Remember, you are in a creative arena and you might start out with a pattern that looks a certain way but does not mean the project has to end looking exactly like the pattern. This is called putting your own creative spin on it. Whether it be changing the color or adding an edge, it becomes more your project to get that right end result that you are looking for.

Maybe you need that extra pop. Guess what? With crochet it is so easy to undo and you can be learning at the same time. So experiment with an edge stitch or change the color to one that you always get complements on when you wear it. By making these suttle changes you can begin to expand into the creative world and enjoy your needle arts even more.

"The wisest mind has something yet to learn"

George Santayana - US philosopher

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Gallery of Talent Corner

The gallery of talent corner is made up of the needle arts. I am talking about knitting, crocheting, beading, and embroidery to name a few.

Because I am teaching and I belong to the knitting/crochet group that I started at the South Plainfield Library and other groups I attend, I come across a lot of people and their projects. I was thinking that it is not just about my projects, but others that cross my path. They also have wonderful projects that they have made and I think should be displayed. So there will be future posts that I will feature the talents of others that are a part of the needle art world. No we are not famous for anything. No we have not written books and I am not one of those top teachers, but we are everyday people like you who love their hobby and enjoy what they make. I would love to spread our joy out to you.

Let's take Thursday group first. Everyone that is a part of the group on Thursday can do both knit and crochet. It is a small group but consistent in meeting every week. It is made up of experienced and more recent knitters and crocheters. No matter what the level we all have fun. We just completed our first blanket for charity that is made up of knit and crochet squares. This kind of project gives everyone the opportunity to make squares using stitches that they would not normally use or new stitches to learn. It was a fun project and everyone felt proud as you can see in the picture of the finished product. Our aim is to give the blanket to the Project Linus charity organization.

It is always rewarding to give back, but when you do it in a group effort it expands the purpose and you just want to do more. So everyone has agreed that we will continue to give. Our next project will be lap blankets for a nursing home. We will each do a separate one in a pattern and color of our choice. The lap blanket size will be approximately 36" x 40". This will be done throughout the summer so that the blankets will be ready by fall. It is not limited to just one per person to make, so there might be ones that will complete two. But we have agreed that each person would at least do one.

Maybe you belong to a group or maybe just yourself would like to make a lap blanket or two and give it to a nursing home. Join us in our continuous quest to give back. I'll keep you up on our progress.

"Some people give time, some money, some their skills and connections, some literally give their life's blood. But everyone has something to give."

Barbara Bush

Friday, March 4, 2011

Never Ending Battle - But It Is Worth The Fight

At this time of year on the East Coast people are thinking of spring. And what comes with spring? It is trying to look better. I didn't say feeling better but looking better. As for me, I want to continue to strive to maintain a healthy regiment in my life. Trying to keep a balance with all of the things you might have on the plate can be a challenge especially if you have children.

As for me, I thought if I wrote it out I would feel more obligated to do it and get some others on board. Sometimes we need that extra push, encouragement or company to do what we need to do. I need company and you know that you have been saying the same thing for a while now that you want to do better. It shouldn't be just because the spring is around the corner but because we want to feel better all the time.

We all need to exercise, according to our health situation. People have always said that you are more likely to be sicker when you are older. We always want to put everything on the elderly but I know some elderly that are doing better than me. So what does that tell you? I know for myself that I am always revisiting what I am doing. I fall down and I get back up. I've expressed that I do not like to cook but I love to eat. For some, weight gain is such an issue and a struggle all the time. Mine is cooking so that I can eat healthy and that is such an issue and a struggle that I will always have.

During the winter the weather was brutal and we got a lot of snow and ice every week. People have been expressing that they are sick of this weather and they have no motivation to do anything. The weather can play a part in our motivation. I know it affected me this year. But all in all I did pretty well this winter. I was not going to be outside walking. I don't do snow, ice or cold. So what was the alternative? I did an exercise program indoors. I jumped on my trampoline and did stretches. Most of the time I did this every day, but I don't want to be a fanatic with exercising so there were days that I just had to work on a project instead of exercising. I had started to juice vegetables but I slacked on that. Now I am back and even though I really hate food shopping I went out and got vegetables and fruit. I even made lentil soup and had enough to freeze some - oh my.

My goal is not just for the warmer weather but for life itself to continue to work on being as healthy as I can. I know I will continue to struggle with cooking, but the struggle will be worth it. This is a health promise to myself and to be kind to myself and know that it is not going to be perfect every day. How about you? Are you with me?

Let's stop promising ourselves for a better tomorrow. It starts today. Yes, you will have those days that you say, 'not today'. So put the needles and hooks down and join me as I continue with where I left off and make an earnest effort with me to stick to a health plan. Remember, this is building a healthy regiment for living well and loving your life. And guess what? You can look better at the same time.

You have to have a mixture. Be focused, determined, with a little strict regiment but make it fun. It's the now factor not putting off for one more day. It's taking the challenge and plunging in. It's not about trying to do too many changes at once that you drown but start doing enough to stay afloat and then start swimming better and better on your own.

I have to go out and get ingredients for these whole wheat muffins with raisins that I like to make. Wow, I'm actually talking about baking. It's one thing but it's a start. If you are not where you want to be with your health regiment then today is a good day to start. If you are doing well with your health regiment, then I'm going to join with you.

Have fun and give yourself the gift of living better. I had to add both of these quotes because they are both so appropriate.

"In order to change we must be sick and tired of being sick and tired."

Author Unknown

"Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon."

Doug Larson