Category Archives: Artist Information & Notes

Bidding On The Grandmother Tree Crochet Hook Begins At Midnight!


Well, here we are – it’s time for the silent auction!  And those of you who are night-owls and international readers, you will get the one up on everyone else for the bidding!  Thanks for being true! Read on for the details about this hook and how this silent auction bidding will work.

UPDATE: Just letting you know that bidding began at midnight on Thursday morning, October 11! Read below for more details about this hook and to see all the illustrations and photos about this hook’s design (you’ll even learn a bit more about crochet hook anatomy).  But I will update the silent bidding right here.  To bid, email your bids ($5 increments) to Worx@PixieWorx.net with “crochet hook auction” in the subject line. The auction will run for the rest of this week, ending at 11:59 pm Central Time on Sunday October 14th. Any tied bids will be settled in favor of the earlier entry.  This is just a brief bit on instructions, read below for all the details and check out the hook.  My intention is to use this series to help educate as well, so please do share my posts with others!  Thank you!

BIDS:   Kay opens the bid at $25!
Doug bumps it up to $45

Final Notes On The Making:

The Grandmother Tree hook has been polished and done for a week now.  However, I’ve been out of pocket working for a tech convention in town last week and this weekend/week I’ve been kicked out of my house a few times for the sake of a potential buyer for our home.  Hence, there just hasn’t been any way for me to sit at a computer to write about this hook!  Both the buyer for our home and working at the convention were good things of course, but certainly they also became hurdles for me in my quest to blog about and carve a hook every week.  The carving has continued, but I have to catch up on the blogging.  So here I am, covered in saw dust and all.  Uh, maybe I better brush off before I ruin my laptop.  Hold on.

OK, here she is – Grandmother Tree’s crochet hook!

Meet Grandmother Tree’s Crochet Hook!

My darling daughter helped pose with the hook right-handed so I could take specific photos for you.  After all, this particular hook has a curve that makes it more perfect for a right-handed crocheter than a left-handed crocheter.  I illustrate it best in the photos, but it’s something essential to know and see before you bid.  (That is, if you want to be happy using the hook.)  The branch that I carved this hook from curves and twists slightly to the right.  Because of this, I wouldn’t expect this hook to fit very nicely in a left hand, since it would curve away from it instead of into it like it does with the right.

Details about this hook:

This hook is hand-carved from a tree branch off a 500-600 year old live oak tree in my back yard.  It took over 9 hours to make and it is “al natural” with no stains or sealants used on it.  Just highly polished wood.

From head to tail, the hook is about 6 inches long, give or take when you consider the curve.  And the size of the hook’s work space is M or 9mm, up to the handle.

This hook is best suited for an overhand crocheter.  Also, I would recommend this hook for straight forward and standard crochet stitches, but not bullion or other stitches that require a lot of loops on the hook at one time.

Grandmother Tree’s crochet hook has qualities that are like an inline hook, however I don’t consider that it technically qualifies.  (See photo.)

I pulled out my 100 year old antique bowler hat to lay the crochet hook on and give it some contrast in the photos for you.  The hat is not as old as the tree, but I think they are both aged enough to have a mutual respect for each other.  😉  (Hat is not for sale, nor part of the silent auction, btw.)  I want you to be able to see the hook’s shine!  But also notice the optical illusion created by laying the hook on the hat!  The curved hook looks straight while laying on the rounded top of the bowler hat.  But as you can clearly see in the other photos, this hook is not straight at all!  It does however curve nicely in the right hand.

Thanks so much for hanging out with me on the journey of making this hook and for my Crochet Hook Challenge! And please share my work with others if you think they would find it interesting. I’d really like to get the word out not only about my Crochet Hook Challenge and silent auctions, but also about hook anatomy and shape in general.  Let the crochet infection continue!

Silent Auction Bidding – How This Works:

If you’re new here, please read the previous posts about my crochet hook challenge and subscribe to my blog.  It’ll be a whole lot easier to stay on top of things that way! 🙂

Please email your bids ($5 increments) to Worx@PixieWorx.net with “crochet hook auction” in the subject line. The auction will run for the rest of this week, ending at 11:59 pm Central Time on Sunday October 14th. Any tied bids will be settled in favor of the earlier entry. Like Jimbo, I’m not at the computer all the time, but will try to post bids as soon as they come in.  I am including free shipping for this auction within the US.  If you are international, I’ll pay what it would have been for shipping in the US if you’ll pay the difference.  Payment accepted by Paypal.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Thanks again to all who have shared my writing and work and of course those who’ve entered the bidding!  As well, our family thanks you!  Our son’s vision therapy is underway, but we definitely need help to finish out the year.  Gratitude and thanks from all our hearts.
     

What’s Next?

Stay tuned for pics of the hook I’ve been working on this week. I’ve been calling her Mrs. Mapleworths. 


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It’s Official – I’ll Carve One Special Crochet Hook Per Week: Happy Fall My Friends


This is absolutely my favorite time of year.  My favorite season, my favorite three months out of the year.  Some would say it’s because my birthday is next month.  And they might be right, but I don’t think so.  I think it’s more likely because down here in Central Texas, the summers are brutal.  And as my husband said the other day when the weather was finally nice enough to throw the windows open: “This.  This is why we live here.  This is why we put up with the heat of summer.  For this.”

Here, fall is a sign of relief, holidays and family gatherings around the corner and in many ways, to me a new beginning.  But then, I guess October is my New Year.

In celebration of my favorite season, and in leaving the safety of 40, I have agreed to take on a challenge handed to me by friends.  Can I do it?

I have pledged to hand-carve and blog about at least one new special crochet hook per week from now until Christmas.

And I better get cracking.  These special hooks will be offered up for sale each week here on my blog.  And through the process, I hope you may learn a bit more about hook anatomy and why the design of your crochet hook is so important.

I have decided to handle the blog sales the same way my carving mentor, Jimbo Price, does with his own hooks – by silent auction.   Opening bids for each hook will begin at $10 ($5 increments there-after), with the respective blog post updated as bids are emailed in (to worx@pixieworx.net).  Bids will run for the week and then end.

Funds from these sales are primarily to benefit our son’s vision.  After writing my previous post about our son’s rare vision issues and the need to be able to finish his treatment, we found out he will need more than we expected.  About twice what we expected and at a cost of $3000 more.   Already, one of my customers has made a generous monetary donation on our son’s behalf that has helped us get started.  You know who you are and from the bottoms of our hearts – again thank you.

When it comes to the challenge itself, I’m not quite sure what will evolve out of it.  But I know it will be intriguing to me.  It takes me 3-5 hours to carve one of my hooks, depending on exactly what shape I am aiming for and the wood I’m working with.  I will have to treat this “hook a week” challenge much the way I have to treat NaBloPoMo coming up in November – with discipline and innovation.  There are plenty of events and life activities to get in the way, but you just do it and stick to it somehow.  And when you think you’re out of ideas, you ask for input, turn yourself upside down and you think of something differently.  (You don’t think I’m going to make the exact same hook each week, do you?)  To make it fair, part of the caveat (straight from the NaBloPoMo playbook) is that even if I make more than one hook in a week, I still can’t work ahead and skip a week.  I have to carve and blog about at least one hook a week.  That’s the challenge.  To have that discipline.

The goal in part is for me to see if I can do it.  Just like the goal in NaBloPoMo is to blog every single day, without fail, through the month of November.  Only this is carving a hook a week for an entire season plus a week.  It sounds easier than it is.  But in the long run the badge of accomplishment is worth it.

So be watching for an intro into hook anatomy and the first hook offering!  🙂  See you on the flip side.

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Filed under Artist Information & Notes, crochet, Crochet Hooks, Crochet News, handmade

A Twist On The Gift – Recycled Crochet Packaging


Etsy has been talking about creative shipping and packaging and asking fellow Etsians to share photos and tips.  After all, holiday show season is just about upon us.  So I put together some photos to share in their discussion.

Collection of Recycled Shipping/Shopping Materials in Crochet

What you see to the right are just three different examples of packaging that I’ve made that’s been recycled through the skills of crochet.  Here, a bubble mailer, a rip-stop shipping bag and a clear plastic shopping bag have all been cut up, sewn and crocheted into new looks.  They take some time to do, but I’ve been working on these ideas for the upcoming holiday season to offer to my customers.

When it comes to creative packaging for my business, for me it’s all about recycling and maximizing my efforts while still being creative and maintaining professionalism and class.  I recycle shipping packets as much as possible.  In my shared examples, crochet edging is made from durable scrap yarns and sometimes buttons from “Grandma’s Vintage Bucket Of Awe” also find new life in the creative gift wrap.

A shopping bag finds new life with a crocheted top and hanging loop.

For me it’s partly just good business sense to stretch my dollars if I can.  Handmade is a tough enough business to be financially successful in and I’d rather spend my $ on good yarn, not blow it on packaging or shipping materials if I don’t have to.  That said, I’m also not one to sacrifice quality either.  Not to mention, like my Grandma Dot, who survived the Great Depression, I’m no fan of waste.  And truly, since most of my sales are face to face sales, I have more creative gift wrapping concerns than I do shipping concerns.  So it’s easy enough for me to recycle my and my friends shipping materials.  Another reason for trying to recycle creatively as much as possible is because I simply don’t have the storage space otherwise to hang onto perfectly good items.  So I look them over and then decide if I can repurpose them or not.  And lastly, I simply enjoy the challenge.  Crochet is a true hand art that can never be done by machine.  So even my packaging is made with personal care and pride.

This is one of those rip-resistant shipping envelopes, cut up and crocheted to become a smaller, more stylish envelope! (You can see a hint of the bar code inside!)

If I run out of shipping materials to recycle though, I do go ahead and buy them.  And I do invest in tissue paper and professional business cards and labels.  Clear concise cards and logos are important I think, that is, if you wish to brand yourself and be remembered.  But when it comes to holidays, I try to up the ante and offer my customers some creative gift wrapping options.  Since I’m a crochet designer, I prefer to incorporate crochet somehow into the fun.

A recycled bubble mailer is now ready to hold a handmade item.

For finished crocheted goods, I always wrap them carefully, tie them and focus on two layers of packaging -> the gift inside as well as the outer shipping shell.  The outer shell will be abused by whatever shipping service, so I want to be sure the item inside stays safe.  But also, I want my customer to enjoy pulling their purchase out of the outer shell and opening their “care package” inside.  So I think about the presentation inside as well as out.  PDF patterns don’t get shipping attention of course, but when I carve crochet hooks, I like to wrap them in things like lacy handkerchiefs.  To me, my customers are investing in high end, heirloom quality work done by an expert in the field, so their items should be handled with class.  However they are also investing in a piece of me and my romantic yet quirky sense of the world, so there has to be an element of fun as well.  My goal is always to give someone a grin and a light-hearted memory.

I also personally feel that if you’re really into vintage and handmade as a business, then consider coming across more personal, clever and unique even in your packaging and less like trying to copy mass productions.  Let your personality through on an individual basis.  After all, what’s handmade and the season about?  Customers don’t buy handmade because it’s their only choice, so definitely keep in mind that your edge is that personal touch and that customers desire to invest in you – someone that’s real.

Oh, I do have one other little secret when it comes to my wrapping needs:  My daughter, Jack, can wrap and tie the prettiest bows like no one’s business, so I do often get her help!  😀

So what do you think?  How do you approach gift wrapping or packaging?  Share your tips with us below!

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Crocheters/knitters didn’t “intend” to denigrate. That’s not an apology USOC.


Ugh. To follow up on yesterday’s brouhaha with the Olympic Committee’s letter to Ravelry: Looks like we’ve hit the big time.  Crocheters and knitters took center stage in the news.

Gawker was the first to cover Ravelry’s plight. Though their take on the story handily left crocheters out of the picture.  Though I didn’t see it until later, seems next in the day was Hot Air with their article, “The Olympic Committee just messed with the wrong old ladies.” I don’t think too many of us appreciate their title, but they did write a fair article and also pointed out, like I did, that “knitting actually was an Olympic event at one time.”  My Google-Fu is strong.

It might have seemed it would pretty much stop there, but #ravelympics began trending on Twitter.  And before we knew it, NPR, New York Times and USA Today were all covering the debacle.  Albeit, with lots of references to women with pointy sticks.  Hey, we hookers are a part of the Ravelry community too you know!  However, Fearless Leader’s open letter to the USOC and Crochet Liberation Front was mentioned in two of those three.  That’s pretty something.  Still, I would have liked to have seen less humor and pointy stick references and a little more respect for an inappropriate use of language slung at a largely female demographic.  Journalists are having a field day with the puns in their coverage of #ravelympics.  We got attention alright, but there’s a few more snickering undercurrents than I would like.  Aren’t we so cute with our hooks and our sticks waving?

To sadden me further, New York Times reports that the organized “knit-in” turned up one lone person.  Well, that’s the way to be respected and set a precedence of ignoring anything any other group might unfairly experience at the hands of a large organization again.  And if a membership largely made up of women can make a lot of noise online, but not put their money where their mouth is and actually show up for a protest, what makes you think that helps any cause ever that involves women.  Good at being loud, but just don’t have the chutzpah to actually do something real.  If there were more peeps there, please, please post the pictures.

While many knitters seem to be quieting down, I’m still quietly crocheting a strip of bacon to mail in to the USOC.  It takes time I don’t really have, but I feel strongly that there needs to be a real and tangible response and not just a temporary internet roar.  Even if it does take some time, money and patience to do it on my part, there needs to be a reminder.  This can’t be the end of it.  And though I picked bacon for speed and ease of mailing, because if I could get it there today I would, I personally desire a demonstration of skill as well.  Though after the snip about accepting free hand-made items from us as a show of support, I also thought seriously about mailing them my crochet hook in protest instead. In fact, I like the idea of hooks and needles filling their office just about as well as bacon, crochet poop and an amigurumi middle finger – additional suggestions left by our tweeps and blog peeps yesterday.  Hmmm… An envelope dumping out a hook with a note that says “I will not crochet for you,” in principle feels rather satisfying actually.  I think I’ll reserve the right to change my mind today.

Jocks aren’t the only ones who work all their lives to hone a skill.  And I say that as a mother in a community that fosters and supports aspiring athletes.  My kids attend a charter school that was originally founded for children pursuing the Olympics and such.  A free school, I will point out.  I am friends with families of all walks of life who hold Olympic and athletically competitive dreams, poor and wealthy.  So I’m not ignorant of what it takes.  I know all too well the tears and stress on a family and the athletes and the skills required.

But if you want to compare breasts to balls, my skill will nurture and keep someone warm, even in the worst of times.  However, with the first apology’s reference to supporting us by asking for free handmade stuff, I’m not of the notion to send them anything they might enjoy too much.  I’ll hand-make and hand-deliver something to an Olympian any day.  Funneled through the USOC under that pretense?  I don’t think so.  Or at least I’m not convinced yet.

A second apology has been tacked on to the first from the USOC. I read it, but it’s still legalese. They said they know crocheters/knitters didn’t *intend* to denigrate or disrespect.  You can read it on the USOC website here.

Statement Update:

“As a follow-up to our previous statement on this subject, we would again like to apologize to the members of the Ravelry community. While we stand by our obligation to protect the marks and terms associated with the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in the United States, we sincerely regret the use of insensitive terms in relation to the actions of a group that was clearly not intending to denigrate or disrespect the Olympic Movement. We hope you’ll accept this apology and continue to support the Olympic Games.”

Ummm…. Excuse me? That’s not an apology.  I’ll bet you regret the use of the terms, but you’re still saying we denigrate and disrespect, but that you clearly see we did not intend to.  No, I don’t feel like accepting an apology written for public spin.  Words mean things.  And I will not infer for you what you have not said.

Additionally, the claim was made yesterday that the letter sent to Ravelry was a form letter. Hence, gee – it was nothing personal and we aren’t really responsible. One of our readers also kindly shared the link to a similarly approached letter sent to the “Redneck Olympics” which you can read here: http://lettersfromaway.wordpress.com/tag/redneck-olympics/.  The article includes photo copies of the entire letter they received.

Yes, it looks like the USOC cut and pasted phraseology from the “red neck” letter to ours, but I have failed to find this phraseology in any other posted letter from the USOC. Many people have received letters addressing trademark infringement, shared them with public and that part of course is not our issue with the letter to Ravelry.  The issue was the insulting language used against knitters and crocheters who were supporting and watching their teams.  We’re not even talking about a separate event that piggy-backs off the idea of an international sporting event.  We were supporting the real Olympics and encouraging ever more people to watch.  Hello.

Beyond even all that, by definition, a form letter is not compiled and tweaked individually. Just because phraseology is similar does not make it a form letter. Calling it a “form letter” is meant to give the impression that there was no personal attention put to the creation of the letter and that everyone receives the exact same thing.  And that’s simply not true in this case. 

Denigrate, disrespect and unappreciative – these are the words they used to describe us in the act of supporting our Olympic teams.

In fact these appear to be the only two letters where such wording has been used.  An event in support of the actual Olympics and does not use its name and one that does not support and does use its name.  Which means in essence, that the law office considered the activities of knitters and crocheters who hand-make things while watching the Olympics to  be comparable to events of body humor that poke fun at the Olympics themselves. With a cliched image of “Here Bubba, hold mah beer and watch this.”

There we go. That’s awesome. I feel more respected now.

I say this, because on a personal level I absolutely feel that toilet seat horseshoes, no matter how fun it might be, is a bit disrespectful when being directly called “Olympics.” The red neck event was not about supporting their favorite Olympic team.  And I say that as a Texan.  So our handcraft skills have thus essentially been compared to a tongue-n-cheek beer party, something generally considered at best to be mildly inappropriate in polite company. I’m not saying there’s not a place for redneck games. I’m saying I can understand the phraseology of the law clerk’s letter being used for that situation because the Olympics wants to maintain a certain image of what they represent and frankly bobbing for pigs feet isn’t that. Even to me, good ‘ol BikerMom from Texas, it sounds more along the lines of Fear Factor material.

So first the USOC apologizes by saying, we’ll show support for Ravelry by letting you send us free hand-made things.  Then they apologize to us by saying we know you didn’t intend to be denigrating or disrespectful.  Where in this do you find an acceptable apology in any polite society?  It’s not one and I don’t have to accept it as one.

I’m sorry, I expect better, especially from an organization that supposedly represents our interests, peace, world community, etc. to the rest of the world.  And from an organization that insulted not just a US community, but an international one.  They insulted and defamed Olympic supporters on a global scale. And neither apology rises to the appropriate level they should.  The slam is still there.

Mr. Sandusky was further referenced by the New York Times as stating that his wife and mother-in-law both knit “for gosh sakes.”  Well sir, I bet if you had asked their opinion of the letter before it was sent, they would have said “don’t use those words and don’t say it that way.”

Whether intended or not, the USOC disparaged our names and crafts.  And with knitting as an original Olympic activity, it’s even worse.  Mr. Sandusky needs to step away from the legalese and just make a good apology that turns it around and states officially that Ravelry members actually have not denigrated or disrespected the Olympics through their activities while watching their favorite teams – at all.  That simply, the USOC just wishes the name to be changed please and never meant to denigrate the spirit of men and women just supporting their national Olympic teams.

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On The Value Of Games


In recent conversations I’ve heard some tsk, tsks about the world today and how everyone is playing games.  From Facebook to the Wii to our Androids and iPhones, some feel dismayed by what society “has become” and where young people are heading today. 

Certainly from a time management and responsibility stand point, it’s hard to imagine how on earth anyone has so much time to also “play,” in spite of our insistence in quoting the old adage “all work and no play…”  And I think that addiction is often foremost in everyone’s concerns and the potential fallout of such.  Though hardly comparable to damaging addictions like alcohol and drugs, in excess, we do find that anything and everything can eventually become lethal.  Even water. 

However, is gaming really all that bad for us?  Or is it just so different from anywhere that humanity has been before that we don’t really know for sure what to think yet.  Except to consider our observations against the only frame of reference we really have in this incredibly new world of technology – before electronic games and after? 

Recently (and actually several times over the course of many years), studies have been published finding that games, even the kind you might think have no redeeming value, actually have a very beneficial effect on the neurological development of the brain.  That in fact, ever since the birth of electronic gaming, humanity has potentially exhibited more brain development since then to now, than perhaps 50 billion years of human development.  That women who play games are learning to develop skills that often were considered stronger in men.  And that playing games can help develop the brain in ways as long recognized activities like reading.  How’s that for an interesting bit of information?  Reference one recent article on the subject here.  There’s even strong evidence to show that game playing helps reduce pain!  Though we do still find that excessive gaming, sedentary behavior and weight gain are still connected.  Then again, as well also careers that require us to sit for long periods of time on a daily basis.

On a personal level, I’m not into a lot of games.  I often find the idea of taking long periods of time to “game” uninteresting and a waste of time.  However, to be fair, this attitude is likely because I find a lot of games to be boring.  In general, the only games I’m drawn to are brain puzzles, and then only until the point that I have cracked them, and then I lose complete interest.  An unhelpful fact in the art of motherhood, let me tell you.

That said, I’ve had to reconsider some of my attitudes about games and the art of play. Logically I know that many studies have pointed out what we’ve long known to be true from an innate understanding – that play in childhood is practice for learning about adulthood too.  That it’s essential to childhood development and learning.  That childhood playtime primes the brain for future decisions to be made and for social interaction and development.  If I know this to be true, then why would playing in adulthood be any less beneficial?  

Recently, in spite of how demanding my schedule has been, I have opened up myself more to the concept of taking a little time to play computer games in small time bites during a day, especially if I’m feeling stressed.  You would think that when you already feel overwhelmed, with your plate piled high with a myriad of tasks all demanding attention right now, that adding one more activity to the plate – nay more than that, giving a frivolous activity priority on that plate – that surely the whole plate will collapse.  I mean seriously – take ten minutes to play? I have more important things to do and even that would break my schedule and lead me astray from my duties. 

Instead, I have not found that to be the case.  In fact, oddly enough, I’ve found myself to be more productive in general. Isn’t that interesting?

Even better than that, I have found that games help with my memory.  An issue I’ve struggled with since a terrible car accident 6 years ago that rendered my left side completely numb and which I spent over a year of physical and other therapies to regain full use and strength of.  I was hit by a demolition truck at 60 miles an hour. Within two hours I was completely numb on my left side.  Later, I began noticing short-term memory issues that I’d never had before.  Long-term hasn’t been affected except for the first few days right after the accident, but little things I would never forget before were suddenly more difficult to recall as demanded.  This was difficult to manage at first, especially with small children, because I’d never really had any memory issues before and as such, I never had any habits to support a weaker short-term memory.  Plus, to make matters worse, sometimes the more I stressed about it, the greater the block might become.

This eventually led me down a new road of understanding mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Memory loss, reduced cognitive speed, affected vision, and interrupted language expression (ever take a few seconds too long to find a common word?) are all symptoms from injuries like these.  Though my loss was mild in comparison to extreme cases, the loss is still significant personally because I was no longer functioning at the same level I had been.  Reduced speed and short-term memory that wouldn’t stick were the most significant factors.  Mental tasks still got done, but took longer to do.  So healing, coping mechanisms and over-coming barriers became priorities for survival.

Much of the trauma I experienced from that event has been overcome today.  I did reach a plateau in terms of pain management.  My allergy to nearly all pain killers had its affect as well as avoiding surgery (also due to allergy concerns) and some nerves were permanently affected.  I was very lucky to have found some of the best and brightest neurological help in my quest to find answers.  Still, in spite of gaining back a stronger left side, use of my hand, etc., I still struggle with short-term memory “sticky-ness” and periodic numbness.  The periodic numbness is assisted by an osteopath or chiropractor who know how to do the right adjustments to relieve the impingements that still affect me. I’ve also worked with a trainer to help strengthen injured areas against re-injury. 

However the short-term memory has been gaining the most significant strength that I can qualify, from the use of logic games.

On my own, I’ll use things like Sodoku (math and numbers), Zuma (it’s actually very meditative and all about pattern and logic), solitaire (pattern using both numbers and pictures), even Bejeweled.  These logic games do help wire the brain for logic and speed.  I also enjoyed Plants Vs. Zombies until I beat the game.  However, I also learned about and signed up for Lumosity brain-training games and a program series that targets TBI. Sometimes it’s a pain to stop and make a point of playing a game, but when I find myself resisting, I remind myself that it’s training, how I’m benefiting and I push through.

What I have found is this: if I make a point of playing electronic games little each day, it does help not just my memory, but even my level of task accomplishment during the day.  I have to admit that, even when I really don’t want to take time to. Additionally, I find the speed aspects developed in games carry over to the speed of my cognitive function in every day tasks as well.  I have fewer “spacey” moments between tasks or when interrupted.  Better ability to get back into focus after interruption.  It’s like it creates a momentum that can carry on past the boundaries of my computer and on into any task demanding my attention.  Kind of fascinating.  Because I didn’t really expect that. 

Additionally, I’ve successfully made use of games to help me accomplish a long list of unpleasant tasks in record time, from packing to laundry to html programming.  And this has worked even while I’ve been sick.  How?  By peppering my day with logic games.  Taking everything in bites, finishing each stage, launch 10 minutes of games and then back to hit it hard again.  And the weird thing?  I don’t really feel stressed when I do it either.  Unlike hitting these tasks back to back without those game breaks, the extra “task” of playing a game between other tasks has actually reduced stress, not added to it.  I didn’t expect that either.  If anything, I thought if I took the time, I’d be way more intense.  Seems that’s not really so. 

Granted, this will only work until I’m completely bored with the games, but it’s definitely some food for thought on the matter of where our society is going and how we are being affected by our growing culture of gaming.  Is it gaming that perhaps helps us make the next great leap in cognitive evolution?  I’m not sure, but on a personal level, seeing the comeback I’m making from injury, I have to give pause and consider it’s possible. 

 

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Republished from my original post on my blog The Difference Between A Duck on Nov. 29, 2009

The Difference Between A Duck

I’m a romantic. I love stories and love wondering about the past and the objects that were there to witness it. Though I’m not a true antique collector, it’s hard to resist saving a quaint old treasure to find it’s story.

So I’m researching a fold-up antique table I found at Goodwill for $3.99. I could tell it was antique, maybe mahogany, I don’t know. Old craftsmanship for sure. Part of the furniture sticker was missing, so I could not see the whole company name. I finally figured out from someone’s newspaper ad the missing parts:

*Date stamp 1939 *Sticker on back says- Bridge Table & Novelties inc Lowell mass Topper Products “Limited-never duplicated” …

And then found another reference to this furniture company through this website and it’s service feature of helping you find out how much something is worth, here…:

http://www.mythings.com/valuations.aspx

Kind of neat site and service! For…

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Quick Note On The Giveaway, IDs and Custom Commentary


So hey guys, I updated the giveaway listing, but just wanted to add (since everyone’s subscribed and should hence see this) that you should also include your Twitter ID’s and blog addresses if you have them, so we can find you and follow back too!  Now, I can only promise that I will follow if you do this, but I’m requesting also because it would be nice for other crocheters to find you when they come to this post too.  I didn’t think to include that at the first publishing, but hey – I’m telling you now.  It’s not a requirement to win the Obey Crochet Giveaway, but certainly, if you’d like me to follow back and I don’t already, I’d love to!  And I don’t think I’m the only crocheter who would.

Besides, I have this whole project on Klout for Tweeps and Peeps in the crochet world.  As in, I’m looking up people who interact with me and am making sure they are down for crochet and Stumbling blogs (that would be Stumble Upon).  I guess I should write a post about that and explain a bit more about what I’m up to, and what this whole Klout thing is about anyway, but the brief of it is I’m using my Klout to better represent crochet.  I mean seriously, when top crochet designers are down as experts in hotels, instead of the fiber fests they went to and there’s nothing about crochet on their Klout profile, yeah, it needs some help.  Do I think it’s a big deal?  Hmmm, well, yes and no.  Do I think there’s potential for the artistic/handmade world?  Yes, I do.

But more on that later.  In the mean time – post your blogs and twitter ids in your comments, gain some friends!

Next, I have some custom work I’m doing for Lori, a local gal with Lakeway Women In Network – a networking group for women in business.  Lori wanted a red/black hat like the last one I made, but a little shorter and tapered for her face.  She also wanted a gold accent for the flower motif and so now we’re at the point of deciding which variation is best.  So I’m putting together a collection of photos to make the job easier since we live about an hour from each other.  If you’ve never done custom work before, this can give you an idea of what it’s like, at least for me.  I like to give people choices and get them involved with the process as much as feasible.  Anything Lori doesn’t choose will go into my stash of stuff to use with another project.  When I do shows, it’s always nice to have a selection of flowers and motifs ready to go so I can customize a hat for someone on the spot.  So every effort to customize serves future customizations as well.  A well stocked pantry keeps you fed.  So does a well stocked stash of supplies and finished parts.

These flowers are made of the heavier weight yarn like the original.

Two of the four buttons you see pictured are vintage buttons from my Grandmother’s stash.  The other two are new buttons.  Can you tell which are which?  Also there’s a selection of 4 petal flowers and 5 petal flowers.  Two of the flowers are in a heavier weight yarn than the rest.

These flowers are made of a lighter weight yarn, from a totally different company. Pretty close color match, isn't it?

The bottom right flower is made very similarly to the original flower on the original hat in the same yarn. The question now is which flower with which button for this new custom hat??

Which is your favorite?

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An Aberrant “Obey Crochet” Holiday Give Away!


Oh look!  I was a poet and didn’t know it!

Well, welcome back my crochet friends!  Happy Holidays!

I know, I know….  I was writing so consistently and then dropped off.  It’s the season for working though, you know.  This is the time of year when warm things are in demand!  I’ll let you know when I master typing with my ears while I crochet.  Send me any tips if you have them!  LOL!  Oh and then of course one by one the family units got sick.  And fight as I did, I finally caught it too.  I know you know how it is!

But, now I’m getting back on my feet just in time for the holidays.  It’s also dear hubby’s and my anniversary today!  (16 years!  Do you know how much I love him?)

It’s me and Obey Crochet!  Cooking up some fun for you!

So I’m ready to celebrate, drink some wine, enjoy some chocolate, have some fun and spring a holiday celebration giveaway surprise that Stephanie a.k.a. Obey Crochet and I cooked up!  We’re doing a blog giveaway! YAY!

Yes!  ‘Tis true!  And trust me, you’ll covet this one!  If you haven’t met Obey Crochet just yet, please do so by visiting my interview with her here!

“Yay! What awesomeness will we win?” you ask?  Well I’ll tell you!

It’s our pleasure to bring this crochet unique giveaway to you, my fellow crochet lover!  One lucky winner will receive a FREE, signed… (did you see that? … a signed!) …  Obey Crochet print.  Of your choice!  Of ANY one Obey Crochet Drawing that you love!  Shipped to you!

Can you believe it?! 

OMG I’m jealous, because I’m disqualified from this giveaway.  They will also get random Obey Crochet buttons and rub on tats.  How cool is that!  Don’t you just love it!  😀

“How!  How can we win?” you ask?

Alright, so down to the business stuff… please read carefully!
First of all, this giveaway is uniquely open to USA as well as International crochet fans!  Yes!  We are not excluding our friends from overseas!

There is only ONE mandatory way to enter…
First, you must subscribe to both Aberrant Crochet and Obey Crochet blogs.  Next, go to Obey Crochet’s website, look at her vast collection of drawings and decide which one is your favorite.  Then, come back here and leave a comment on this giveaway blog post stating that you are following both blogs (we’ll check), along with a note about which Obey Crochet signed drawing you are most excited to win!  (One of my personal favorites is “Potentially Pirate,” along with Obey Crochet’s original “Co-Dependent.”  Oh and then of course there’s “Only Child,” “My Shadow Puppets Are Better,” and “All I Need Is One Hook.” And then there’s…..  I know – how can you possibly choose just one?! But in the end, if you win, you will have to!)
Last but not least, share the link to this giveaway with your crochet savvy friends!
Limit ONE entry per person.
OH and HEY! Post your Twitter ID and blog address in your comment and I’ll follow you back!  How’s that for a deal?

PLEASE NOTE…
1. You have just over ONE WEEK to enter…
2. Giveaway will close Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 9am CST.  (Yes, we gave you fudge room even after the New Year’s celebration!)
3. A winner will be chosen via random.org later in the day on January 1, 2012.
4. I will announce the winner on my blog shortly after (so come back to check!)
5. Please be sure to have your email address linked to your comment or there is no way for me to contact you!
And that’s it!

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!   😀   MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAVE FUN!
Oh, and disclaimer: I have not received any monetary compensation for putting on this giveaway.  This is purely for fun!  I mean, just in case you’re wondering.  They say it’s always good to be clear about these things.  So, there you have it… clear?  We love you!  Enjoy!

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Kumihimo Could Be The Ultimate Stash Buster


Today was well spent at A Good Yarn taking a beginning Kumihimo class from Jeannie.  She’s a good teacher!  And the class proved to me what I suspected…  Kumihimo might just be the ultimate stash buster.

Kumihimo is the Japanese term and method for braiding.  There are many different types, but we learned a basic yatsu umi, or 8-strand round braid.  Jeannie even introduced us to using beads.  For a basic yatsu umi starter project, we each started with four strands of about two yards each, doubled over to make eight strands to work with, and create a key chain.  Most everyone else stopped with a normal sized key chain, but since I was camping out for part of the day anyway, I kept going until I had no more threads left to work with!  So mine’s actually long enough for a necklace now.  I’m thinking about taking the split ring off and instead adding a decorative clasp for an offset design.  Maybe add a crochet element.  Not sure yet how, but pretty sure this is going to be a necklace.

The fun thing about Kumihimo (and I should have taken some photos of Jeannie’s examples to do her justice), is that you can use up scraps of yarn and thread that might not be long enough to do much else with.  She had examples of several made from a variety of yarns, thick and thin, including pigtail-eyelash.  How much stash you can bust with braiding depends on your end project idea, of course, but it adds one more thing to my bucket of tools and growing skills.  I look at kumihimo and see possibilities for jewelry, where crochet might not give me the result I want, but also, I think this could make a much stronger, less stretchy purse strap for some of my weighty beaded purses, over crochet.  One of my fellow classmates mentioned wanting to make some for decorating Christmas presents.

Here are some photos of my yatsu umi.

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This is the basic beginner's small Kumihimo kit, long with my yatsu umi hanging out the backside.

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The yatsu umi has a spiral effect when you use contrasting colors.

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Beading adds a nice element to the spiral braid.

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My yatsu umi is long enough to make a necklace! I'm thinking I might take off the split ring and instead turn this into an offset necklace with a decorative clasp.

If you find yourself in Prescott, AZ, I can’t recommend the local yarn shoppe – A Good Yarn – enough. They are incredibly helpful, friendly and a bright spot to visit. I also LOVE Debra’s “Buck A Ball” community donation project. Drop off your unused yarn leftovers, or balls you aren’t going to use, and Debra puts them in a box for $1 a ball, with all proceeds going to the local women’s shelter. Umm, yes I found some goodies to buy in the box too. Gracious and community oriented, this store is one of the most crochet friendly yarn stores I’ve ever shopped. And you can tell that Prescott locals value them too, as they stayed busy with many local friends coming and going, friendly chatter, along with newbies who dropped by today as well. I met a lady from South Africa today who said she’d heard so much about this store she just had to come. Seriously, you can’t help but be in great hands!

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Carma, Jeannie and Debra! When you are in Prescott, you must visit these super friendly ladies and tell them I sent you!

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Field Testing The Crochet Gear in Prescott


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All that frosty grey on my hat and giant scarf is snow!

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Happy December everyone!

I am in Prescott, AZ, field testing my Crochet Gear! LOL!  OK, that’s not really the purpose of our visit, but I have enjoyed the opportunity to none-the-less.

We just got in tonight and it started to snow!  Super pretty!  Dear hubby and I enjoyed a walk in the snow around the square after dinner tonight.  (For those who might not know, we’ve only seen snow in Austin maybe 4 times in the last 17 years and where I grew up, I only saw it about 3 times as a kid, so any snow is a pretty treat for me!)

It’s not quite our anniversary, but it’s close and we’ll be celebrating 16 years.  The grand ‘rents are staying with the kids back home, holding down the fort and giving us this time together.  It’s a blessing I sure won’t turn down!  And the ‘rents and kiddos are getting quality time too.

Got a plan in the works while I’m here this year.  While hubby’s taking care of work tomorrow, I’m scheduled to take a Kumihimo class at the local yarn store A Good Yarn.  You might remember I blogged about them last year.  I drop by and see them every time we come.  They’ve moved recently and I look forward to seeing their new digs and visiting with folks I’ve met in years past.

Saturday afternoon I’m catching up with yarnies at Method Coffee.  And sometime before we leave, I’ll be seeing about dropping by Peaceful Prairie Alpaca Ranch to see Wendy.

We ate at Prescott Brewing Company tonight.  It’s a favorite of ours, along with their Christmas ale.  Seriously, all their food seems to be top notch, as are the brews.  I try something different each time and am always pleased.  On our walk earlier, I noticed a shop with Tibet imports I want to check out.  Also have to be sure and go by the Arts Prescott Gallery Coop.  That’s where I found my gorgeous blue dichroic glass necklace that everyone loves.  It’s a great shop of several local artists’ work.  And I’ll stop by Bead-It on Whiskey Row.  And there are a couple homemade type candy shops too.  Plus we should be able to catch the city’s lighting of the courthouse on Saturday.  It should be fun!

All in all, I look forward to a pleasant visit and lots of photos and reporting. Provided we aren’t snowed in!

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Up And Coming Projects…


NaBloPoMo is getting close to an end!   And so far I’ve managed to stay on track!  It’s been a good exercise for me to pursue different writing ideas and a kick in the rear to get it done!  As I look ahead to what’s left of the year, Christmas is not far away now and I have a trip, custom orders, more shows and school fundraiser stuff to keep up with.  Whew!  Not to mention a project my brother and I might collaborate on.  We’re still hashing out the details to see if we think it’s viable or not.  Oh! And thanks to Facebook, three childhood girlfriends and I are planning a slumber party during winter break!  I’m so excited!  It’ll be our first Christmas occasion together!  😀  I have to thank Facebook for making it possible to bring people I love back into my life.

Today is run around crazy and do all the laundry day so there’s plenty of clothes for everyone.  And I need to clean out the car and get some of my show stuff from last week put into storage.  Plus I couldn’t sleep much last night, so I worked on these two hat beauties for a custom order.  Though similar, each hat is made with different yarns, different hooks and different stitches to achieve the same essential look.  Except for the squiggles.  They are identical.  This will give my customer a choice as far as color saturation.  My daughter was kind enough to model them for me.  Even letting her true nature out during one shot!  I’m playing around with lighting, with flash and without flash, trying to get the purples to really come out.  So there are a few photos here, but only two hats.  Can you tell the difference?  We call these Squiggle Hats, named by my daughter when she was little.  They are an Aberrant Crochet exclusive design.

All my cameos sold at the last couple shows.  I hunted for more like them, but couldn’t find the exact colors in those sizes.  And my original supplier is no longer supplying.  I did however find similar and a mauve design I like pretty well.  (OK, I’m picky.)  I also found two new lacy frames I really like that are reproductions of antique frames.  I can’t wait to work some crochet lace into them!   Still waiting on the right sized cameos for the smaller frame though.  Plus, I came across an estate collection of Gothic skull cameo pieces from an old jewelry store that I scarfed up too.  They will be quite fun to work with and I know my daughter’s friends will be interested at the school bazaar coming up.  Since the bazaar too often has little of interest to teens, and more of interest to the younger kids, I’m happy to oblige hunting down some steam punk/goth rock/pirate stuff for them. Never was into teddy bears, me.

I feel like I’m forgetting something though.  And that’s one of those big fears I always have.  I hate forgetting things.  So I’m wracking my brain today, making my “Remember The Milk” lists and trying to meditate on details in a logical order to see what might be missing.  If you haven’t heard of it, Remember The Milk is a handy app that allows you to create multiple lists.  There is a free version, which you can just use on your computer and a pro version that allows you to sinc it with your smart phone multiple times a day.  I have not fully explored the whole platform, but so far I’m finding it very handy.  I keep a perpetual grocery list this way too.  As soon as I remember something, I type it into my list.  When it’s time to go to the store, I sinc everything to my phone and voila! I have my list everywhere I go!  Which is good, because I lose paper lists.  Chronically.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll remember that thing that’s bugging me.  In the mean time, check out the pics!

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The Pirate Skull Cameos Are All Gone! Here’s What I Worked On Today!


Today was the last day of East Austin Studio Tour and the last of the pirate cameos found new homes!  I haven’t found another source for the “Guns and Roses” style in the color I had.  I’ll see what I can find do to find some more.

Here’s the piece I was working on today.  Again with my tiniest antique crochet hook!

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Saturday Recap For E.A.S.T. #67


Well, it was a lovely day out at the E.A.S.T. #67 location at Flat Fork Studios.  I was a little worried at first with the wind picking up this morning.  Luckily it calmed down a bit later.  There were lots of gracious people and fellow artists and artisans. And I really enjoyed talking to some aspiring crocheters and other fiber artisans, including a shy spinner/weaver.  Maybe, just maybe, I talked him into posting photos of his work somewhere publicly.  (Let me know dude, ‘cuz I’d love to see! I wasn’t joking!)

Flapper Purse in BLue for Cindy

Flapper Purse in Silk and Rust

It was also nice to talk to more traditional media artists who got some of my quirky ways of looking at texture and design and even got excited with me about what I was doing.  Awesome!  Different worlds, but maybe not so much.  I brought the purses out to show-n-tell and promised to blog more about them as I finish my work on them.  Nothing like a gentle prod to help me stay in gear.  I still need to make a trip to find the blue silk to line the blue one though.

Sunny Bear Hat For Lola

People were having a good time.  Lots of babies and kids.  Lola was there with her famous gumbo and kind, motherly smile.  She made me feel special telling me she looks forward to seeing me every year and that she still loves her hat from two winters ago.  I love you too Lola!

Purple Eggplant with Vintage Button Pin

I also had a customer from last year drop by.  She bought my Purple Eggplant hat last year and has since moved to the Rockies where she says she absolutely loves it and that she gets so many compliments.  And another let me know that she took her hat on a ski trip and stayed incredibly warm and comfortable.  That was so awesome to hear.  I don’t often have the privilege of hearing “where they are now” and it’s a treat.  I have to really thank everyone who supported my work today.  I’ll keep going because of you. Thanks for sharing my excitement and vision! 😀

Teeter Totter and Fun

Wondering who’s out there this weekend?  Well, here are my colleagues.  (You can find info about the other artists and bands in studio here.)

Craft Riot Team Members at E.A.S.T. stop #67:
Nepenthes Bathtime – artisan Soap & bath products
Robo Roku – art, apparel, accessories
Gem Junkie – jewelry for the go
R + R Design – recycled & re-purposed jewelry & home accessories
Sweetwolf – facio, ero sum
This Creative Life – paintings, prints, & apparel
Pixie Worx! & Aberrant Crochet – crochet designer, fabric artist + hand-carved crochet hooks and shawl pins

All in all, a pleasant day.  I look forward to tomorrow.

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Life Has Taught Me That All Too Often You’re Better Off On Your Own


People let you down.  Teams, bosses and employees let you down.  Friends make promises they don’t keep.  Family members have insane expectations.  Colleagues take advantage of you and your work.  Leaders pretend to be people they aren’t.  Managers abuse their power.  Religious people prove to be hypocrites.  Atheists and politicians too.  Armchair warriors who can’t help but to give out a cyber punch/ jab/ pinch.  Like an abuser, justify it with “They deserved it.”  The people with those handicapped tags that aren’t really disabled and who cut you off in a parking lot so they can swoop quickly into that front row parking space before you pass it.  I’ve been cut off in parking lots by more people with temporary handicap tags lately than ever.  Wtf?

People who pretend to be experts at something they are not.  Receivers with no sense of gratitude or conscience.  And the guilty who take their guilt out on others when they fail.

And it generally boils down to a selfishness at heart.  A general disregard for a fellow human being.  The one right next to you, not the stranger from another culture you’re trying to impress.

It’s kind of like how family all too often treat each other worse than they would a stranger.  Biting the hands that feed and nurture them. Devolving into a vicious cycle of dysfunctional relationship and communication to rule the rest.  And now days, a couple of conversations online makes you familiar enough to take a punch, familiar enough to receive judgement and be devoid of rights to safety. Familiar enough to be disliked or hated, never having met face to face. And based solely on a paragraph or two.  I feel like a bit of my soul bruises every time I hear someone talk about how they hate someone else.

Have people disappointed me lately?  You bet.  People with enough life and professional experience to know better.  People who’ve received enough kindness too.  People who should know the value of a team, of a cause, of a single person or an act of selflessness.  How a betrayal of trust ruins it for all.  And how gratitude always wins.

Has it been everyone?  No. Not by a long shot.  But enough repeats to get to me.  I know better than most how tough life can be, so as patient and laid back as I can be, it takes a while to build up.  I wrote the emotionally charged title on purpose.  Because I know it speaks to the feelings of a lot of people lately.

This Thanksgiving, of all times, let’s think about this.  And not just football.  Take accounting, of ourselves, of the relationships we allow in our lives, of the examples we allow our children to see.  Recognize reality for what it is.  Take responsibility for ourselves, because others are not as invested.  Demonstrate patience and tenderness with others, because we know what pain is.  And savor the gems in our lives, rarer today than ever.

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Remembering…


A lifetime ago, I used to volunteer at a medical facility for profoundly physically and mentally disabled children. It was a kind of half-way house between a hospital and a home. Every resident child had extreme medical needs and could not live at home for one reason or another. Some had been abandoned to the state.  At the time I was seeking to go on a mission to work with disabled children overseas.

Most of the kids at this facility had what was then termed as “profound” mental disabilities, but all of them had severe to profound physical disabilities. Disabilities that are so incredibly hard to imagine.  Medical anomalies that we tend to think happen somewhere else in the world, but here they were all in one place, under one roof.  I cannot imagine anyone walking away after a visit there without a shredded heart.

Every resident had to live in a medical facility like this just to stay alive and receive medical care they needed either constantly, or at the drop of a hat.  It was a sacred bubble of physical therapy and medicine around the clock.  Volunteers like us came in and helped work with the kids, especially for physical therapy, but also for social interaction.

For some, no social interaction was possible.  I remember one girl who had been unconscious and on a respirator since near birth. All the patients needed their muscles worked with and we helped with this, even for the unconscious patients. When I saw her birthday, it was like someone walked over my grave. She was my age and we had been born within weeks of each other. I couldn’t help but spend time talking to her as I worked with her hands and feet.  About life, about school, about things I didn’t know if she could hear, but knew she had never seen.  How did her lot end up so different than mine? She was unconscious all her life. And I was studying theology and music in college. The experiences of this place challenged a lot of my reality, even some of my spiritual beliefs.  Awakenings I’ll never forget.

There was this small special group of kids though, with amazing physical limitations, who had no intellectual handicaps at all. A tiny bubble of 4 kids in a world they could not mentally or psychologically fit into, only physically relate to.

There was Sergio (who preferred to be called Sarge) who was paralyzed from the neck down and could eat with a fork just using his tongue. There was the preteen girl who loved Michael Jackson and the Backstreet Boys. She was also partially paralyzed and had a chronic condition that put her organs at risk. There was a Brian whose condition I never really knew, but it caused him to need a feeding tube and permanent IV.

One of the boys I worked with at this facility had a rare genetic disorder that caused his body to literally attack his own skin and bones. Though he was born with 10 fingers and toes, by the time I met 13 yr old Brandon, he only had part of one digit left. Which he used to master Nintendo quite handily. Drawing too. Amazing. Brandon was a genius trapped in a body that would not likely live to adulthood. To slow down the process, the medical staff had to keep his skin oiled and medicated. Unfortunately, his mother had also abandoned him to the State. What he had was not contagious, still so many people were afraid to be around him. His flesh was in a constant state of agitation and peeling.  It was heart-breaking and scary.  And he was a cute kid with a great sense of humor.  I was one of the few who would not only touch him, hold what was left of his hand, but hug him.

One of the days I came, something was wrong and Brandon was in a lot of pain. The staff were rushing around to treat. I didn’t understand what was wrong, but he was crying, in distress and so scared. As staff barked orders at each other, they let me stay by his side and my ride stood at the bedroom door by Brandon’s roommate. Looking back, I don’t know why, but whatever happened, because I still don’t really know what, I guess my presence wasn’t a problem.  The poor kid screamed and cried. I held his hand and stroked his head, talking to him softly, calling his focus to me.  He was still scared and crying, but he calmed and let the nurses work.  I think it was around an hour that I held that intense space. Brandon was falling asleep when I left. I was exhausted too.  It was in the parking lot that my ride then told me, “You are the most powerful person I have ever met. That was amazing.” And I burst into tears.

It was that day that I realized I could not do the kind of work those nurses did as a career, to feed myself and my family, to make ends meet. They were like stone with Brandon that day and I think they had to be. They had to do their job and they didn’t have time to cry and have a breakdown. And whatever was going on, they had to work fast.  And Brandon didn’t really have a mom, so I was able to be there and hold his hand instead.  They were a small group of staff with an entire facility of children to care for.  They couldn’t afford to become too attached.  Every “bedroom” door in that facility had a symbol on the door letting everyone know how far they were allowed to go to save the life of the children inside.  Green light: do everything you can.  Yellow light was a moderate level. Red light – do not save them, let them go. It was a reality for every volunteer that a child you worked with today might not be there next week.  It was an everyday, all day reality for the staff.  Thank God for the people who can be and do all of that. I realized that as a volunteer was the place I needed to stay. I could remain soft-hearted that way, without the jeopardy I would surely cause as a professional crying every day.  And I could fill in the gap when needed.  I never wanted to lose my squishy little heart or my ability to cry for another.

Remembering these things.  Another lifetime ago. It’s good to remember.  Lessons whispering from the past as new ones form today.

I didn’t end up going over seas for that mission.  It was probably a good thing, as much as it was a disappointment, as by the end of my college career, I ended up facing my own battle for health.  Eighteen years later, I don’t know where the kids I worked with are, or how they fare.  But their stories gave me a whole new insight into what can be in this world, even in the face of extremes.  Those lessons learned and smiles shared will never be forgotten.

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Next Projects


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Austin Craft Riot is Over…


It was a pleasant time visiting at Austin Craft Riot today with Megan of @Love_evol.  She dropped by my booth at opening time and we chatted up our love of crochet and desire to get some hookin’ gals together.  We’re totally going to have to do this drop-in crochet somewhere in Austin thing y’all.  And maybe serve some Fearless Leader’s Crochet Bacon for fun!

ACR may be over, but you can catch me next weekend with a handful of other local handmade artisans out at East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T.) at spot #67, hosted by Flatfork Studio.  My friend Sam will be uploading photos from this weekend soon, so check out the link.

Located over by Tito’s Vodka, this is a fun spot with lots of interesting artistic and handmade joy from nearly two dozen artists in one stop!  This will be the 3rd year that Lola the Nubian Queen (one of the coolest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting) will be present with her famous Cajun gumbo and cooking benefiting her program to feed the homeless.  Also, every year that I’ve had the privilege of being at this location, Tito’s has also offered complimentary vodka drinks.  I hear they have a new airstream bar this year!  Faith of Flatfork Studio has some crazy killer sculptures and a giant seesaw that looks like a piece of watermelon.  Made for adults in mind too!  Not to mention there will be handmade goodies from myself and a handful of my friends and colleagues.  Oh and even a couple picnic tables if you want to rest and eat.

If you’re going on the tour, this is one spot not to miss! Let me know if you plan to drop by ~~~~!

@ObeyCrochet and @Love_evol say they might be dropping by.  How ’bout you???

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Some Days Are Tougher Than Others…


I’ve determined that having a glass of wine after a long day and class, and with only 15 minutes to spare until midnight, does not help with inspiration for writing my #NaBloPoMo post tonight.  It will however help me sleep. Which I desperately need.

So I will see you tomorrow.  My post for today has now been made.  By the skin of my teeth.  And maybe a freckle.  As my husband keeps reminding me: “Perfection is the enemy of good enough.”  NaBloPoMo is, after all, all about just doing it.  Making the commitment and doing it every day.  No matter what.  It is not about perfection.  Even though as a writer I’d like to lean that way.

Think NaBloPoMo is easy?  Let’s see you try.  Check it out here.  In the mean time, I’ll be catching some Z’s and dreaming up a better plan to tackle tomorrow with.

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I Spy With My Little Eye….


So I’m at the last minute today.  Damn it.  I don’t have business cards for my show this weekend or anything else graphics wise ready to go.  And there was Tae Kwan Do and the book fair and a fundraiser tonight that I skipped out on and…. Yeah, you get it.

I have a lot of ideas queued for NaBloPoMo, but none of them are quick enough to allow me to get right back to designing my tags.  I needed something quick and creative to pass the muster for my post.  Because after all, I’m a bit of a stickler for posting with some sort of purpose in mind.

So it occurred to me to look around my kitchen, err… my office I mean, and post some photos of things in this room that might tell you a little something about me.

Didn't you know that a built in wine rack is perfect for model rockets? Sometimes there's wine too.

Pottery skull my daughter made when she was in 6th grade? Behind that is a pottery slate she made with hieroglyphics.

Vase that belonged to Grandma Leona and a sheet of antique music I collect. Grandma almost sold that vase for $1 at a yard sale. I snatched it before someone else could and told her if she was getting rid of it, then I wanted it. I just love it.

Stuff on my fridge.

Two of my favorite magnets ever.

Can you tell I like magnets?

This sign belonged to my husband's 90 yr. old grandmother. She used to work for an antique store and found this. After she died, it came to me. She had a sense of humor, her.


In the end, it wasn’t exactly all that quick, but it was pretty straight forward. So I’m sticking to the notion that at least it was fun and interesting!

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Filed under Artist Information & Notes