It’s my birthday … again!

My very clever husband, after many years experience, realised that I simply do not need more “stuff” for my birthday.  So he booked me into a wonderful thai cooking class, and I spent my birthday learning how to make green & red curries, soup, noodle dishes, spring rolls and more!  Incredibly tasty, clutter-free and thoughtful gift,and I’m pretty sure he’s angling to see some of my newfound skills on his dinner plate very soon 😉

thai cookingMy very clever sister made me a crochet hook roll (which she crocheted, of course), so now my lovely new bamboo hooks and all my existing hooks fit happily in one secure and portable caddy!  It even has my name on it … see … get it? *hee hee*

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And because it is my birthday in the USA today, I have decided to just stretch the celebrations out over a week!  And you know what that means?  Oh yes … a sale, dear Copic addicted friends!  The first to get the details are the awesome peeps on my email newsletter list, so if you’re not on it, get on over and sign up on the website home page HERE.  It’s happening all week, with some serious bargains on 4 of my favourite things … because there may or may not be the number 4 in my age.  Maybe.

Crafting for a Cause – Angel Gowns

11 June 2014

Last week, as I surfed around Facebook, a single page kept popping up in my newsfeed.  My friends had been tagging it, sharing it and commenting on it … someone even sent me a PM about it.  It was Angel Gowns for Australian Angel Babies who have Grown their Angel Wings … yes, it’s a quite a mouthful, that title … but it tells you exactly what they do.

You see … they were looking for seamstresses, knitters and crocheters to create tiny little outfits which will be donated to families who are grieving their angel baby, as well as NICU and SIDS babies.  I may not be much of a knitter, but I am pretty darn handy with a sewing machine and a crochet hook … so I signed up to help.

At the moment it is all consuming.  I am working on a particularly large crochet order, aiming for 100 keepsake pieces by the end of this week (and I’ve already posted 100!).  At this point I’d like to say … thank you Spotlight for your 40% off coupon … the timing couldn’t have been better!  I have also made some teeny tiny micro-premmie bonnet & booties sets.  They are smaller than you think.

This is a task which carries a large swag of emotions.  There is sadness for the families who are enduring such sorrow and loss.  There is satisfaction in every piece completed, knowing it will go to a family in need.  There is pride in seeing a community of crafters come together to help others.  There is despair in knowing how many pieces we need to make.  I have participated in a similar program with the FDAA (Folk & Decorative Artists Association of Australia), with their memory box program.  Sadly, I have seen first hand what it means to these families to receive something hand-made, just for them, during these dark times.  Seven years ago my best friend passed away, and her unborn baby passed the next day … that kind of grief can’t be imagined, it can’t be soothed, and it can’t be hurried.  But I will never forget how touched her husband and MIL were at receiving that handpainted memory box.  It wasn’t the best paint-job in the world, but it was painted with love, and gratefully & humbly received.  A little kindness and thoughtfullness goes a very, very long way.

And so … this is why I am now crocheting like a crazy lady.  I am also glad to have some computer skills that are helpful to Sarah, the amazing lady who coordinates this Australia-wide effort.

On the seamstress side of things, Angel Gowns also gratefully accepts donated wedding dresses.  These are deconstructed by hand, every piece cared for and collected, and they are turned into beautiful gowns & suits for angel baby girls and boys.  Many people donate their wedding or deb dress in memory of their own angel baby.  You can read more about the organisation on their website HERE.

If you are thinking that you’d like to do something to help … that would be amazing!  There is a page on the website where you can contact them about donating a gown, or supplies.  You can follow the Facebook page HERE and keep up with the latest news.  Sometimes there is an auction, with funds raised going toward postage costs and materials needed by the volunteers (like ribbon, thread, etc), and be assured that this not-for-profit organisation does not pay its organiser or volunteers.  We do it because we just want to help.  If you would like to volunteer, send them an email or a Facebook PM.  Don’t sew, knit or crochet?  No problem.  You can spread the word, let people know what this organisation is doing, make a donation of cash, a Spotlight gift card or things like ribbon, thread, crochet cottons.  There are lots of little ways that everyone can make a difference.

Cache of Crochet Crowns

Crochet Crowns reduced

Last night I found a little tin in with my quilting supplies … for the life of me I couldn’t remember why I’d put it there.  A peek inside, and it all came back to me!  I’d found a cool little pattern for crochet crowns online a few months back, and became completely obsessed with making them.  Then I got bored with it … and stashed them away.

There are so many of them that I’ve bundled up a bunch for sale over on my Facebook page (CLICK HERE).  Perfect to embellish a plain shirt, onesie or jeans, put a brooch back on it … put a hair pin on it … add to a card or scrapbooking layout or collage project.  So many uses!  I might have kept one or two for myself 😉

Get your Craft On – Surprising Teacher

A couple of years ago I wanted to learn how to crochet.  My Mum is an amazing crocheter, but not only is she left handed, but she is lightening fast … and I couldn’t wrap my head around reversing it for my own right handedness, or keep up!  Every time we just ended up frustrated.  So … enter YouTube!  One day I bought a $2 ball of acrylic wool and a 4mm crochet hook from Spotlight and settled in at the computer.  I was desperate to crochet an amigurumi toy, which meant crocheting in the round.  So, I went to YouTube.com and typed in ‘how to crochet amigurumi’, and found dozens of tutorials.  I just clicked on the first one, which was showing how to crochet a simple ball.  I watched it several times, then I started to crochet along, pausing when I couldn’t keep up.  When it got to the end, I unpulled what I’d done, and started again.  I think I did that about a dozen times (maybe more), but I learned it.  I used YouTube to learn new stitches when I came across them in patterns, and within days I was making the toy I set out to make … a crochet seahorse!

This is the first crochet pattern I ever bought from Etsy (click on the photo to go to the store), and I have since made several of them (I have one under construction right now!).  My first attempt wasn’t perfect, but my 2nd attempt was much better and I gave it to my Mum.  She loves seahorses and she was pretty impressed that I’d managed to teach myself to crochet.  Less than a year later I co-wrote a crochet pattern book with my Mum for Milford Threads, and now I am designing patterns for DMC!

See … here’s the thing.  Some people can learn from a book.  Words and diagrams work for them.  But other people really need a visual learning experience.  If that’s you, then YouTube is your new best friend!  You can learn how to crochet, how to knit, how to dye hair, how to tile a wall or how to lay bricks!  Do some research before you dive in, and watch as many videos you can on the subject, but how amazing is it that we can have such a tool available to us, and all for free!

Is there something you have learned from YouTube, or something you want to learn?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.  If you want to share a pic of a creation you made with some YouTube assistance, head on over to the Cake & Enemy Facebook page.