Sunday, December 28, 2008

Touching base...

What with more hours at work, a few pre-Christmas orders (plus one for early January I'm working on), Christmas preparation...I've had little time for computer. Instead of begging for 'just a few minutes' when my girls and I both want the computer, I've been gladly stepping aside otherwise I wouldn't be getting things done!

And the extra hours at work ARE coming in handy now. With Chryslers off for 5-6 weeks, my husband who works at a company that supplies them is off for about 5 weeks, without the 80% of his wages that Chrysler employees are getting. It'll be tough, but we'll be okay. Isn't the saying: "At least we have each other!"? Hopefully we don't get too much of the 'each other'!

I've recently become addicted to another technique: felting. I'd bought two skeins of wool yarn before Christmas and quickly used them up making small candy bowls, a tealight holder (for battery-operated tealights ONLY), and a shallow candy dish. And have to have more! This did not escape hubby's notice, who commented that I'd soon be shrinking our kids.
"Only if they're made of 100% wool..." I replied calmly.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Special

There's still time to whip things up for Christmas! For a limited time, I'm offering a set of 8 crochet patterns for more than 30% off their regular price (one pattern is not shown--my Snow Family Ornaments).
Separately, they sell for over $14, the set is on sale for only $9 until December 5th, so hurry to get them while the price is low!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Where is your chocolate from??

With the recent food scare involving tainted milk product in China (now there are eggs in China that contain melamine), what scares me is that the Canadian government allows manufacturers to simply state 'imported by...' on their packaging.
So, the chocolate covered peanuts that I purchased a week ago that were 'imported by ******** of Canada' could have been made as close as the US, or maybe in...China??? I know there are law-abiding companies there, but lately, it's the ones that want to make $$ by faking protein content (adding melamine to fool the tester) so that they can water down the product.
I work in a produce department, and there are sign police that come around to check signage. Sign police, you scoff. But it is true. To date, I haven't seen the actual 'sign police', but more their advance scouts, the ones that warn the higher ups if there is cause for alarm. What happens? The store could get a fine if their signs do NOT state country of origin, or if the sign incorrectly states country of origin. So if that apple sign says Canada and they're US, it could cost us.

But what about that chocolate company? And other food manufacturers? It's not just pesticide usage we worry about now, but ingredients in processed food.

Here is a comment I just sent to the chocolate company who imported those chocolate covered peanuts:
"I recently purchased a box of Glosette chocolate covered peanuts, believing I was purchasing a product made in Canada. After eating, I happened to look at the box and was dismayed to see not a 'made in Canada', but an 'imported by...' note.
With all the recent food scares, I couldn't believe that I now had NO idea where the product was made.

What I do not understand is why produce is required to have a country of origin, or the grocery store gets a hefty fine. Why on earth are products created with multiple ingredients allowed to get by with simply 'imported by'?
I thought I read that the Canadian government was going to change this, and it would be nice to see food manufacturers adding 'made in...' or 'country of origin' to their packaging even before this became mandatory. I think customers would greatly appreciate this.
I thank you for your time. "

I am curious to see what their response would be.

Now, as a consumer, would you prefer manufacturers wait for legislation forcing them to add this pertinent information, or would you be impressed that the food manufacturer cared enough about their customers to jump the gun and add this before it's mandatory?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just testing

Testing out inserting a paypal button. It also works without going to Edit Html

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

First steps...

I've been thinking and planning a business in my head for a few years now. Hem-ing and haw-ing about starting, nervous about taking that first step toward my brick and mortar yarn shop--which would have an internet counterpart!
Last night, after talking to a woman after our school council meeting, I decided I had nothing to lose (at this stage!) checking into it. Worse case scenario: nothing happens. Best case: I open the door to my shop each morning to open up!
I have taken one baby step: I've talked to someone who can help me with setting up.
And another baby step: I've contacted a few yarn companies to inquire about wholesale terms.

One of the harder steps (the phrase "Watch out, that first step's a doozie!" comes to mind) to me will be NAMING my store. Another one will be telling my husband. And when. Now, in the planning stages so he can quickly kill the little sprout with "we can't afford it" or "I could be laid off"...after I manage to procure a small business loan...or after the shop's doors are officially open.

Now, apart from naming it (hey, if you have any suggestions, I'm open at present!), thoughts of what to stock besides yarns run through my head.
Buttons, beads, hooks and needles, patterns...all pretty basic.

What would YOU like to see in a local yarn store? Feel free to comment with suggestions.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Etsy Rocks! Featured Seller

Anymore, I tend to spend more time on Etsy, less time in my other online groups. Hanging out in the forums, occasionally adding my 3 cents worth to discussions, and mostly checking out what other crafters are selling.

Now and then, I'm going to feature an Etsy seller here with my top 3 picks from their shop. Either one I've purchased from, or one whose work catches my eye and I just have to share them.


My first artisan is a fairly new shop from Portugal that offers fun and unique gifts for everyone.
It was hard to choose just a few pictures to put in here!

First, at left, Brown Yourself With Red Bracelet. Beautiful wood beads accented with two crocheted red beads, perfect to wear with blue jeans, or even with a dress.

Circle Yourself Bracelet. The colours of these polymer beads are so fun and bright, they almost look good enough to eat.

Lastly, I love this one for its upcycling! To take something that would have gone to the landfill and turn it into something useful to give it a brand new life...awesome! I especially love how it buttons!!

Check out wearmycolors to see their other unique items, too, they do ship worldwide!

When shopping on Etsy, be sure to check out each store's policies regarding shipping and custom orders. If you're new to Etsy and having difficulty with the checkout process, don't hesitate to convo the seller, we're very happy to help out a newbie!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

So I have a slightly twisted sense of humour.

Just slightly, mind you! When Etsyhookers Team on Etsy started a challenge for strange hats, I discussed this with my 10yo while waiting (for 45 minutes AFTER our appointment time) at the hair dresser's. I told her 'no holds barred!', and she came up with a runny nose idea. Imagine, talking snot while people are trying to improve their appearance!
Anyway, from the runny nose came the Snot-Nosed Goblin. I must admit, Allie's disappointed, it doesn't look like the picture she had in her head. It was kinda hard for me to see I had to go with the one in my head. Fortunately, the finished item looks a lot like the one in my head!

The hat is now for sale in one Etsy shop...the pattern in the other.

The hats submitted for the challenge are all in, and voting is now taking place. If you'd like to see all the hats created for this, and vote, you can pop in here: Etsyhookers Blog.

My hat (like I said, pattern is available for sale in my Etsy store and on my website):

And that little bit of light green....that's the snot drip!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

That's one big lobster! followed by...That's one big toy!

Bubba the lobster caught my attention while I was scanning news headlines. A 22 lb lobster who is believed to be 100 years old.
Story can be found here. I'd give you a link to a Yahoo news story, but lately, most of the links end in an error page.
My opinion on Bubba? To the people who wanted to buy him for up to $3, Yes, it's a big lobster, and yes, people love lobster...but the thing has lived 100 years, he doesn't deserve to end up in a pot.
And to the animal right's activist who wanted to buy him to set him free, where was she when all the other lobsters were sold for food? That aside, setting him free would have been a nice idea, but I really don't think the woman thought it through. With people knowing there was a gi-normous lobster out there, the poor guy would be hunted. He'd be on the hit list of every lobster-loving, bib-wearing fanatic out there...and on most fishermen's list who would dream of the thousands someone would pay for Bubba's capture.

Speaking of big things, can you imagine approaching one of those toy machines where you (try to) scoop up a stuffed animal for a small price and finding a toy the size of a 3yo? Oh, hold IS a 3yo!! Story, btw is here,(video) with prior attempts at becoming a living doll here. and here. Oh, and here. Guess it's more common than I thought!

Anyway, with the newest incident, after the child was retrieved from the machine (without aid of the claw, I hope), store owners opened the machine up and allowed the girl to choose a toy for herself and her sister. I wholeheartedly agree with the reporter's comment about rewarding bad behaviour.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Rainbow Challenge

What fun, a challenge! I'd recently joined the Etsy Hookers team at (of course) Etsy. Friendly lot of crocheters, and it's so nice to be part of a team.
This challenge: to create something using 5 of the 7 colours of the rainbow. To see the entries (voting starts July 9th) visit here.
My entry, and she was such fun to make:Felicia, from Latin meaning happiness.
I had someone ask where I'd gotten the African American head/hands sets because she couldn't find them anywhere. Know what? I checked the places I knew of online, and couldn't find any either. Other heads/hands in various yarn hair colours, but no African American.
If you know of any sources, drop me a line and let me know, and if the other crocheter is still looking I can pass it on.

Aaaargh to Telephone Spam

Not so much the solicitors, I do try to be polite when I tell them NO because I know they're just trying to earn a wage. Of course, once they start to get pushy, it's no holds barred!
Last night, after NUMEROUS messages on my machine from a sickeningly cheerful voice telling me to push '1' to lower my credit card's interest rates...I actually took this call and pushed 1.
A very heavily accented voice answered. Now, I'm good with accents, normally don't have a problem, but this was HEAVY.
Before he could get started, I asked him which credit card he was calling about.
"Oh, no, we're not a credit card. We're a financial institution telling you how to lower your interest rates on your Visa and Mastercard."
"Okay, so are NOT my Visa or my Mastercard?" (Says I knowing full well the answer)
"No, we're a financial institution..."
"Just take me off your list!" And I hung up.
The nerve of these companies calling, making you think they are calling from YOUR credit card company to sell their services. Gee, phone spam!

I don't do surveys by phone either. That one after being suckered in.
She: "If you could please help us with a survey..." (yes, it was a legitimate one)
Me: "Well, okay, as long as it's not a long one."
"Oh, no, it'll just take a couple of minutes."
Half an hour later, my baby was getting fussy. I interrupted and said "Look, I have to go, I have a hungry baby here."
"Can we call you back to finish?"
"Sure..." thinking they're not gonna call.
They DID call. I told them outright I was NOT going to finish it. After being told it would just take a couple of minutes and answering questions for HALF AN HOUR, then finding out I'd have to spend MORE time...forget it. For such a lengthy survey, I told them, they should mail it out (this was several years ago, before computers and especially email were so widespread)
I've learned my lesson. NO phone surveys.

Friday, June 13, 2008

trying to go a little greener

And although my garden is certainly green, the weeds have taken over, I swear the bags of dirt we bought were bags of instant weed garden, that`s not quite what I mean.
First, reducing our electricity usage drastically. We no longer watch as much tv. I`ve used the dryer for about a total of 1 hour in the last week, instead of about 7 or 8 (loads never take just an hour to dry!).

And, after seeing sellers on Etsy selling reusable produce bags, I thought I would make some for me. I will not be selling these bags on Etsy, as there are already several sellers there...check them out if you`re looking to buy! I figure if I use them, I`ll have cards ready for people who notice and ask where on earth I bought them.

Just think of how many plastic produce bags you use a week: a few potatos, one bag. A few apples, another. Lettuce, another. Grapes, another. Peppers, another...and on and on. The more fruits and veggies, the more bags. And where do they go...the dump. Multiply one week by And multiply that by (insert number choice here) people shopping...double wow.
Then, think of how many bags that would NOT go in the dump.

Some countries have already outlawed these bags. They blow around, clog the sewer drains, water backs up, get the picture.

So, I`m kinda excited about these bags. And hey, if a few people ask me to make some, my sewing machine really did enjoy getting a bit of a work out yesterday so I`m sure it will enjoy more. Not to mention a little extra cash would be nice.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Ontario Energy Savings...NOT

I used to pride myself that I wouldn't just sign anything. Then, I proved myself wrong.
Last year, a rep from Ontario Energy Savings came door to door, offering us a price protection plan. Rates were going to skyrocket, and this would protect us from a drastic rise for 5 years.
(Why oh WHY didn't alarm bells go off??)
How could they give their customers such a good price? Because they purchased blocks of hydro (or whatever the term was) from the original supplier at a good price.
GEESH. If they'd paid FULL price, they'd still be making a big profit. My local ELK is roughly 4.5 cents per kw hour. I'm paying about 8.5. DOUBLE.
At first, I thought my bills were higher because: it was summer, we had the air on (although I tried not to use it much) and the pool filter on. Then, it was fall, we had the lights on earlier now, the heat was on...after Christmas after struggling to keep up with the hydro bills, I just about fell over when one month was $200. For ONE FLOOR and an unfinished basement. Lights are always off in rooms not used.
We tried to cut back. STILL the bills were high, and we're still struggling.
Last month, I rarely used our clothes dryer. Lights were not on during the day, curtains were opened instead. $160.
The only way out is to cancel, which would cost me a few thousand dollars for 'their' damages.

How about MY damages? To heck with worrying about the price of gas for our cars, we can afford that! We just can't afford to keep cool at all this summer. Fans will rarely run, we won't be setting up our pool cause we can't afford to pay the hydro bill.
If we do get disconnected for failing to keep up, there is the reconnection fee. WITH THE SAME SUPPLIER. So, we can't win.

A couple weeks ago, a rep from OES came around to ensure we were still signed up. I wasn't going to bother going to get my bill. They should KNOW I'm still with them. I told her that unfortunately, I was, but that I'm warning people to stay away, I'm paying almost double the hydro I used to pay. She had the nerve to tell me that later this year, (made it sound like this was all hush-hush) rates were going up over 9 cents per kw hour.
I talked to the Ontario Energy Board who are THE ones who set the rate. THEY don't even know what the rate will be, so how could this rep know?? Answer, she doesn't. She's trying to make me feel better about being a sucker.

So, word of warning, anyone comes asking to see your bill to ensure you're getting the best rate, chances are, they can't give it to you. Learn from my very expensive lesson.

**I checked the date on my bill. And went to the trouble of reading my meter (okay, so it's really no trouble). Since their estimate on May 3rd, we've only 'used' under 400 kw hours. Still, makes me cry to think how much smaller my bill would have been if I hadn't tried to save money.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Neon meets watermelon meets checkerboard

View my page on EtsyHookers

At a request from someone on Etsy, I designed a pair of checkerboard slippers. Now, this is my rough draft, and I used a couple of colours I had handy (as opposed to going to the basement and browsing through my tubs) which just happened to be bright green (you may recognize from my Lion Allieghan--pattern available soon--I'm selling on Etsy. The pink...I really can't remember where that came from! The colours together kinda make me want to break out my sunglasses.
I designed these so that they are wider at the toe end of the foot than at the heel. I have yet to meet someone whose heel is the widest point of their foot!

This pattern will be available in my CrochetSal's store at Etsy, and also on my site, June 5th, along with a stuffed scorpion, the afore-mentioned Lion Allieghan and a tote. Pictures show bottom of slipper (left) and top of slipper (right).

Friday, May 23, 2008

My first Allieghan

Scratch that, our first Allieghan. My 10yo loves making graphics on the computer (see Mother's Day post for one), and a few months ago, she did an adorable lion. I thought it would make a great note card, or even a cute afghan! Truthfully, the card would have been easier. No twisting of yarns in the back=no pulling out my hair when I had to cut and untangle and start 'fresh'.

Allie is quite happy, she will be getting a part of all pattern sales.
Next up is the turtle she drew, or I might try and do other animals based on her style...or better yet, ask her to do the animals. She draws, I tweak and crochet.
The afghan is worked in sc from a coloured chart. You must know how to do colour changes, although basic colour change instructions are given. App. size using worsted weight yarn and a 5mm (H) hook is 36 x 32". The pattern will be available June 5th at its regular price of $3.95, but is available for pre-order for $2.95 until then. Pattern will be sent June 5th when it is available as a PDF attachment in an email to the address provided by paypal. If you would like it sent to a different address, please state this in 'notes'.
To pre-order at this special price, just click on the paypal button:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bells and Whistles

Well, more like rings and whistles.

The ring. I have a cell phone. I use it only when I go out, and my daughter uses it when she goes out so if she needs us, she can reach us. 50 cents for a payphone is ridiculous. This afternoon, my cell rings. Strange, cause my daughter and all her friends are in school. No one I know has my number, other than my husband (and of course my daughters) and he knows I'm at home.
I answer:
Him: Yes, could I speak to Holly please. (We've gotten calls for this mysterious Holly before)
Me: I'm sorry, this isn't Holly's cell phone number any more.
Him: Well, this is student loans. Do you have a number where we can reach her?
Me (kinda laughing): Uh, well, when you buy a cell phone and they assign you a number, they don't tell you who all has had the number before you. (Not to mention give you their new numbers)
Him: Oh, I'm sorry!
Me: Not a problem, we've gotten a few calls for her.

Now for the whistles.
Bird whistles. Or trills...the tree swallows are back nesting this year. This time, they've moved one birdhouse over on our front porch, and have chosen the one that's about 4-5 feet directly across from our front door. I peeked in today, and I'm not sure, but I think I saw a tiny, smooth little white egg in amidst the feathers!

Now, if my sunflower seeds grow, I might get visits from an American Goldfinch, last time I had sunflowers, we saw the little guy daily.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all moms! My creative daughter played around on the computer and made me this picture that I just have to share:

Right now, she's plugging in the iron so someone can iron her latest perler bead creation, another Mother's Day gift.

My day was going to be spent gardening, but I heard the weather forecast for today and it just didn't look good! So, I did my work yesterday. My front garden was weeded (again), we put in more dirt, and I finally planted the bulbs I'd bought, although I may have to buy new Peruvian Daffodils since the bulbs had gone soft in their packaging. Ugh. My husband didn't like the flowers, they're a little out of the ordinary! If I get any to grow, I'll have to take pictures.
Also planted some gladiolus along the back of the front garden, hopefully they'll help hide the ugly area under the porch. A couple of mini pumpkin vines, cukes, carrots, purple-ish daisies and some flowers I don't know the name of.

Although it's Mother's Day, someone still has to do the laundry, guess that'll be me! I'm sure I'll enjoy the day anyway, it'd be great if my daughters didn't argue for the day but I certainly won't be holding my breath!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Father's Day is Coming!

Am I odd? Am I strange? Inspiration for 2 of this month's patterns came from a Canadian Tire flyer. It happened to be laying there, open to the tire page...and one of those lightning bolts that I love so much hit me. First came the New Wheels for Dad, then this Making Tracks Set. Both are ideal for the kitchen, not to mention outdoors at a barbecue! I did find myself looking at cars' hubcaps more than usual. Usual being almost never.

I was definitely on a cotton kick, and I do blame
Elmore-Pisgah for that. And for the hard time I had refraining from buying MORE cotton until I used up some of the stuff I already have. Although I am sadly in need of a few bright colours...the remaining two patterns this month are also cotton. Of course, you could use worsted weight acrylic, but I prefer cotton for its absorbency.

These two patterns, as well as a StarFlower Kitchen Set and the aforementioned New Wheels for Dad are available now on my site.

Mourning the Loss of Yet Another Hook

And this one so young! I had very recently purchased a G+ hook (4.5mm) from Sharky's through Etsy. A lovely corian hook in a lavender speckle colour. So smooth to work with, so nice to the touch...
Two days ago, I reached for my jar to pull out the hook, and alas, the handle came, but no hook. Somehow, the hook had broken off. Somewhere, there is a tiny little hook.
This is the second G+ hook that has broken, although the first was admittedly my fault. Never use a wooden hook to 'pry up' a stitch to loosen it. Heed my words, they may save innocent hooks.
Today, a 4mm hook came in the mail, my purchase from G3Studios on eBay. Oh, my goodness! So absolutely light! I've only tried it a bit, but do like the shape of it. It doesn't twist in my hand like round hooks do, so I'm not constantly turning it back to position the hook properly for the next stitch. And it makes a lovely whispering sound when crocheting with cotton, like the hook is talking to me.
Unfortunately, a new 4.5mm hook may have to wait a bit. I may even have to stick with the good ol' metal or plastic hooks, since this size for me seems to be jinxed.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Okay, now THIS is something I would never crochet

After having nothing to write about really for a while, I finally found something...

Faithfully checking Annie's Attic for the free pattern, like I do almost every day....I saw a pop up of what is one of the ugliest things I've seen. Forget socks and sandals...socks and...FLIP FLOPS?? Ugh.
Now, these are knit, and you can have what looks like one single pattern for $7.99. If you're willing to make the fashion faux pas of wearing socks with sandals. Looks like not everyone shares my taste, there's only 7 left.
While you're there purchasing one of the last few patterns (or even just grimacing) over the flip socks, check out the Sling Socks, also $7.99 for one pattern that looks like an MP3 player cover for your feet.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Gas prices, gas boycotts

Friday morning, I drove to Leamington, about a 12 minute drive from my town. I felt guilty, especially when I passed the gas station where gas was $1.17 a litre. Which works out to about $4.42 a gallon. Canadian prices, but the US and Canadian dollars are so close, it's not worth converting. But, there were things I needed that couldn't be found in small town, department store-less Kingsville. Okay, it was yarn. And yes, I could have mail-ordered. Mary Maxim I'd have it in under a week, Herrschners, it could be 2 months. Really, last order DID take 2 months. However, the project I needed it for has to be done quickly, so I needed the yarn NOW.

Anyway, later that day, I had to go BACK to Leamington to pick my daughter up from a dance. The sign outside the gas station I had passed earlier now read $1.20 a litre. $4.53 a gallon.

Yesterday, my hubby went for a bike ride past the other side of town, and swears that gas station read $1.24 a litre...$4.68 a gallon.

This morning, I get one of those 'gas prices, please read...' junk emails. Yes, junk. I just had to laugh at this. Puh-lease, this same one has been going around (of course, someone recently had changed the prices in the body of the email...they were in a different shade of blue) for YEARS, and as of yet, it has made ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE in gas prices. They just keep getting higher. So, save yourself some trouble, save your friends the trouble...if you get that email, just delete it like you do (well, maybe some don't) with all the x-rated junk offers and 'congratulations, you've won an internationl lottery' emails.

How can you save money on gas? Rather than drive 4 blocks to pick up the morning/afternoon paper, WALK. Or ride a bike. Just need a few groceries, 5 blocks away? WALK, or ride a bike. (See the trend??) Keep in mind, you're not only saving $, but you're saving wear and tear that short trips make on the car, AND doing something healthy for YOU. And while you're walking, do take some time to stop and smell the roses. Much better than the smell of gasoline.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Wow, eBay blues, stash for sale!

Wow. I figured I'd take advantage of a one cent listing sale, if your listing started at 99 cents or less. More than $33 worth of rayon thread just went for $7.50. Four watchers, only 2 bidders?
Next auction ends in about 5 minutes. Certainly more than $30 worth of thread, some still new in package, 2 watchers, and only ONE bid for 99 cents? YIKES. If it goes for 99 cents, I may just cry. I don't like putting reserves on, and I do want to clear out some stock, but NINETY NINE CENTS?? I just hope I didn't underestimate the shipping, cause after paypal fees and the ebay fees, I think I might make about FIFTY CENTS on this one. Double YIKES.

I'm really not sure why people watch an auction if they have no intention of bidding? I know I watch an auction here and there, and at least plan on bidding, but often, the bidding goes too high so I don't bother. I like the watchers who don't pay attention to the finish time and start watching hours before the auction ends, and since the item doesn't sell, obviously, they never come back.

Okay, Chenille yarn for sale, Honeysuckle retails for $3.95 a ball at their site plus shipping. Four balls of this, plus the Bernat Chenille, PLUS what looks like at least half a ball of white chenille, and a small cone of black, no label, but looks about the quantity--88yds. Estimated total retail before shipping (and taxes) $25-30.
Shipping will be the expensive part! If interested, you can have this for $18 shipping INCLUDED within Canada and the US. I will accept Paypal or a money order (sorry--no cheques, email me at crochetsal at yahoo dot com for an invoice, or for my address for the MO), and will accept Canadian money at par. Will ship upon receipt of payment.
First come, first sold!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spring Cleaning Has Started!

It doesn't hurt when eBay is offering a one-cent listing fee for anything starting under 99 cents!
So, I've gone through a couple of boxes I've gotten from Elmore-Pisgah, and kept what I am sure I may someday use (nothing like being definite!), and listed quite a bit of thread. Including one large lot of rayon thread starting at 99 cents.
I did list a few pattern mags, but haven't gotten even 1/4 into that box, just get tired of listing so many items at once!
If you're interested, check out my listings at:

My items on eBay

Thursday, March 20, 2008

New Computer, New Insult?

First, my new computer! After dealing with a 6yo that had last year developed Alzheimers and could not recognize its own CD drive, a couple of months ago, the monitor started acting up. Turn it on, watch the pretty green light....nothing on the screen. Now, there was a trick...within a few minutes, the monitor would shut itself down, then you had to very quickly turn it back on (or start all over with the waiting) and finally, pictures. Gradually, that few minutes turned into ten, then 15...then the other day, it just would not shut down.
Rather than spend a couple hundred on a monitor, we found a good deal for the entire package. Now I just have to get used to Vista, and the way folders are set up. And get all my info from the other computer somehow...

Now, I'm really not sure if what I felt insulted about was meant as an insult. I was contacted through one of my shops regarding a pattern, could I possibly share it? I did reply stating that it was for sale in my other shop. I heard back that no, they meant free. They knew some people were nice, and thought I might be one.
Okay, I got to thinking: did this person mean 'share' as in copy someone else's pattern and illegally send it? I know people do this, but I just couldn't.
Or, do some designers really hand out their patterns offered for sale just because someone asks? It's kinda like going into a coffee shop you've never been to before, ask for a free coffee and then tell them that you thought they might be nice.
Honestly, I don't think it was meant how it came out, so I'm not really offended! I do have to get back to the person and let her know I DO offer some free patterns.

I am a nice person. I think. Ask anyone who knows me. But, don't ask my mother. L-o-n-g story there, in fact I was told I should write a book. Suffice to say, someone who calls their own grandkids tattletales and crybabies for no reason other than spite toward the children's mother, I wouldn't trust her judgement on anything. And her comment about me not being a perfect mother either would have bothered me if I'd ever claimed to be perfect in the first place. Being imperfect is normal. Waking your kids up at 2 in the morning on a school night to scrub a pan that had been left to soak, or to clean a living room where nothing was out...or even to look for a comic book that your mother had been reading but misplaced...that's NOT normal.

Someday, maybe I'll share a bit about life with my mother. At times, it's so sad it's funny.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Thank you to all who voted on the mandrake doll's name. The winning name is Montgomery. I'll be contacting all who entered names (there were 4 in total!)as the three runners up will also receive a free pattern of their choice.

With the snow we got (okay, my niece can rub it in--I swore last night that we wouldn't get nearly as much as they were forecasting, figures they'd be right this time) does this mean March came in like a lion? This morning was one of those mornings you didn't stop at corners unless you absolutely had to: 5:40 am and plows hadn't hit most of the streets, and the one they did do piled snow on the street I was coming OFF of. Considering I'm driving just a wee little Escort, I think I did well not to get stuck!
After working 4 hours in the produce department (lifting, moving, stocking) I came home to...move and lift the snow! Thankfully, the sun is out, the day is very mild, so the snow should melt if this keeps up.
Uh...did I say thankfully? Should I mention here that our basement is far from dry and with a heavy rainfall, we get water??

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The names are in.

I have 4 names in the Name the Mandrake contest. I do plan on having the pattern available March 5th.
So, please help vote for your favourite name!
Please, vote by February 29th, I will announce the winner March 1st. Wow, March already....

Thank you! Voting has now ended.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

As stated in my February 7th post, I DID work on that special project.

I first looked up images of a mandrake root. For those who do not know, the mandrake is an actual plant. The root is shaped like the human form, which is why long ago, people believed it had magical powers. And yes, they actually DID believe if you pulled a mandrake out of the earth, its cries would kill you. Anyway, the pictures ranged from photos of the real root, to some anatomically correct mandrake sketches. And a few 'cutesy' ones. Cake, clay...
I spent a day or two debating. Real root, cutesy root. Cutesy root won out this time.
The result, front and back (I love the cheeks--both sets!)

He (she???) stands about 10 1/2" tall, not including the leaves growing out the top of his head. What is hard to see in the picture is his nose: it does protrude, about halfway down the cheeks. I think I may take out his eyes and re-do them, they seem a little high up for my liking.

Now, for my sad news. My favourite G hook, purchased from Ron at Fancy Kitty, broke. My fault. I was trying to pull a stitch out a little to loosen it so my hook would fit through, and the hook snapped off. I was heartbroken. Not to mention frantic. How was I to finish? My hook broke! Then, I remembered the store-bought hooks sitting and collecting dust, and managed to find a G hook to finish the arms, which by then were all that was left.
Guess this means I must go in search of another hook. I have an F hook from Ron, another G hook as well, but the G has the tiniest grain where it catches my yarn. Oh, and forgot, an H hook from Fancy Kitty that I had bought for my sister in law for's still sitting here! And an H hook from (I believe it was) from art-in-crafts at eBay. My latest hook was a hook made from countertop material, a Graydog hook. But no good G hooks. I tell you, these handcrafted ones have spoiled me.

And...some good news. For someone! It's been awhile since I've had a contest. So, I will have a 'Name the Mandrake' contest. Boy name, girl name...unisex name...doesn't matter. Just fill out the email form below, before February 21. I'll then pick out a few names that I like and have a vote. The top winner will receive two free patterns of his/her choice, and two runners up will receive one free pattern of their choosing. Winners will be announced March 1st, and will be emailed privately, so please make sure your email address is valid.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hands, er...Paws Up!

My daughters were goofing around last night, and boy, did I ever enjoy seeing them work TOGETHER. The older even offered to work on the younger one's hair. It was indeed a rare site. Made a mother feel good. But I'm not foolish enough to think I can hang up my referee's whistle yet.
Delainey was taking a few pictures, and played around with the camera, setting it to sepia for a few shots. This one, taken of Allie's arm pointing a plastic toy hair dryer at our 4yo cat, Stormy. Delainey did admit that some of the pictures of Allie looked 'good', but then went on to say 'hey, she looks like me in this one'.

I'm hoping to post a special picture soon, I'm currently working on an idea that hit me last week. I don't want to jinx it, so won't say what it is until I'm way or another. If it looks like the picture in my head, I'll share a pic. If it's a muddled mess, I'll just tell you what it was supposed to be!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I was going to take a picture of the visitor I had on the weekend, but I'm sure most of you know what a Tim Horton's cup looks like. Now, it didn't get here on its own, my brother did come attached. We laugh about this, try to figure out the reasoning behind it (hey, my coffee is NOT bad!): that brother NEVER shows up without a Timmies in his hand. None for us, just him. I could understand if it happened once in a while, but EVERY time he visits. Which is about once a week.

I'm currently re-reading (uh...for about the 10th time or so each) the Harry Potter series. It's so nice to curl up under a warm blanket in bed and read for a half hour or so. While I was reading the other night, I had an idea jump out of the book at me. One of those lightning bolt ideas that I like so much. I won't say what it is yet. Firstly, I don't want someone snagging my idea before I get it done, second, I don't want to jinx it.

What I can say, is my newest patterns are up in my Etsy store. I have a hard time sitting down and working on my actual website...maybe this afternoon. One pattern is still being tested, so although my regular subscribers have it, I don't want to list that one yet. If there are any revisions, it's easier to send out an updated version to only a handful of people.
One pic (this one's my favourite this month):

Now, a close second is my neckwarmer. The first one I made using Sean Sheep yarn I'd purchased at Wal-Mart, then realized it may not be available long. So, I did a second one with regular ol' worsted weight. And one strand of satin worsted weight.

I've also taken the plunge and started a second Etsy store. My old one will be strictly patterns, the new one will be for finished items only. Mostly crochet, but a few other things will show up sooner or later. That store is Smudgekitty Krafts, named for our 17yo tortoiseshell cat. The one with the attitude...the one who doesn't like animals. The one who still likes to go outside in cold weather, while our 4yo tortoiseshell is hibernating indoors for the winter, her choice!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Martians are coming!

Well, at night they seem to. The last 2 nights, I've dreamt of UFO's flying close by and preparing to land. Two nights ago, I dreamt once, and had such a feeling of dread that I woke myself up.
Last night, TWO dreams of UFO's landing, and again, that feeling of dread, and not wanting it to happen, so I woke myself up.
What a wonderful ability! I wonder, just how common is it? To realize while dreaming that you're dreaming and force yourself to awaken.
If I'm really tired, it's harder. I remember several years back when my sister was in a coma, another sister asked the doctor if Sue could hear us, and the doctor explained that she probably could, but just couldn't answer, because it was kind of like...and I calmly said "like swimming up through molasses". He looked at me in surprise and said "Yes". Well, that's how waking myself up feels when I'm really tired. It's hard work, but darn it, I just don't want to dream that dream!

I'm really hoping tonight not to have that dream, but at the same time, wondering what would happen if I let it continue?

So, hopefully to satisfy my curiosity (think I'll have to post my poll elsewhere, there's not a lot of traffic here), I've created the poll at right.

On a crochet note (yes, I have been crocheting!) I have two animal bookmarks finished. One I am very happy with, the other I think I'm going to change just a bit. His (her?) face looks...well, not right. Not ugly, just not quite right. I also have a neckwarmer finished, and boy, is it warm! Now, I just have to get my camera out and take the pictures. I am currently working on an outfit for the walking doll, and partway through the top, I'm not sure if I want to do a dress, or a baby doll style sleeveless top with capris. I'm leaning toward the capris.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This is just STRANGE

With temps zero and slightly below zero (Celsius), and a thin layer of snow on the ground, what my hubby saw walking up our side walk when he got home from work is just strange. Bizarre. A head-scratcher.
A dozen or so, large, black CRICKETS. You know, the chirpers (males chirp) you hear at night in the summer?
Most were on the small cement path leading up to our house, but a few were on the main sidewalk.
The only thing that I could possibly think was someone had ordered crickets via mail order, the postman was carrying the package in his arms instead of the pouch, and the box sprung a leak.
We haven't had warm enough temps to hatch eggs...and apparently, although adults will hibernate in the late fall, they seldom survive the winter. And even if they did survive our cold but above normal temps, why on earth not just wait till the 'real' warm weather gets here?

If anyone has any idea why crickets would make an appearance in mid-January, in cold southwestern Ontario, please let me know!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Wow, two days in a row. Just thought I'd pop in to say that yes, the cats were both downstairs, and no, I did not get woken in the middle of the night by loud meowing from the attic. I'm sure there were people who lost sleep worrying about that.

It's nice to have my living room back to normal. Now that the tree's taken down, the room seems a bit bigger, until we get used to the tree not being here, when the room will 'return' to its usual really small self. How small? Have you ever seen shows on TV like 'This Small Space'? I would sooooo like to see their version of large, and show them my version of small. Their small bathroom: the size of my kitchen. A small living room, twice the size of mine. You wanna talk small bathroom? I've seen larger closets. So, when these shows really DO show a SMALL SPACE, then I'll watch, cause I just might be able to use some of their ideas. Unfortunately, their current ideas for their 'small spaces' simply won't fit in my space.

Now that I've set everyone's mind at ease (Ha. Ha.) time to get working on an outfit for Miss Frizzy Head, I'm sure I've mentioned her before...the 30+" walking doll with really scary frizzy hair.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Okay, I finally did it. Took down that sad looking Christmas tree. It's the fold-up artificial kind, and I swear, it loses more needles than a real tree. So, after several years, it's starting to look a little scrawny. But, once it's filled up with ornaments and lights, you really don't notice. Kinda like the little Christmas tree in the Charlie Brown special.
After taking the box upstairs, I *think* both cats came back down. If not, I'm sure I'll hear about it in the middle of the night when they meow for me to pull down the stairs. I gotta get up early, I really hope they both ARE downstairs.

What did keep me busy before, or at least a couple of them:

My Zebra Gift Bag. Or stocking, depending on the time of year it's being used! Could also be made into a pillow, or used as a pyjama bag (this from one of my testers). I felt it was about time, it's been awhile since I'd done my Lion Stocking. I do have other animals in mind...

Another item, my Sherbet Bear Toilet Paper Cover. A little smaller than my 'line' of characters TP Covers, I just didn't have enough of the colour I wanted to use to have him fit a double roll. So, Sherbet hides a single roll of toilet tissue. I'm sure there are people who still use those. With 4 people in our house, it just seems a waste of time to use the single rolls.

These both are now available on my site and in my Etsy store, along with this month's other two new patterns. Not to mention all the 'old' patterns I also have for sale...and don't forget to check my page of free patterns.

Friday, January 04, 2008

A New Year

And only how many days till next Christmas??
I know it's still Christmas in my house, my tree's still up, but that's only because when I did have the time, I just did not feel like dismantling it. But, I am determined, it WILL come down today. Or tomorrow...
However, at work, our speakers still spew sappy seasonal songs of Christmas. (note, yes, that was done on purpose! Took me a few minutes) Now, this is not the store's doing, they do keep changing it to music that's more appropriate to the time of year. Namely, anything non-Christmas (it was retro--a lot of Beatles, Beach Boys...loved it!). But, each morning at 8 am (I figured this out after a couple mornings) when the store opened...WHAM. We're Dreaming of a White Christmas and Having Ourselves a Merry Little Christmas.
Hopefully, that glitch--let's call it Head Office or so I've been told--gets straightened out.

Yesterday, I took my daughters to the mall for a few clothes. Jacob Jr. had some nice t-shirts, one in particular struck my eye. It was available in 2 different colours, with a feminine design with a fairy. The words: "Wish Upon a Shinning Star". Uh...shinning??? I looked twice. Three times. Laughed, and could NOT buy the shirt. For someone who shudders at the sight of blatant spelling errors, this spelled torture. What it didn't spell was shining.

I looked it up at, and from what I see, shinning can be a word. Just not sure what the front part of the leg, or a cut of beef has to do with a star. Although the climbing using your legs and hands alternately might possibly...if you had lassoed a star and were trying to reach it.

I asked the JJ employees what on earth shinning meant, one looked at the shirt, thinking I had meant to say shooting...saw the mistake...and left the shirts out. But, what can they do. Spelling errors might not torture others like they torture me.
I did try to contact Jacob, and although I clicked the send button, don't know if it went through. Most places have a nice Thank You For Contacting Us page for just such an occasion, but Jacob did not have one. Maybe they had trouble with the spelling...
Now, IF it did go through, and they contact me, I'll pass on what they said.
Kinda curious what on earth they would do. How many stores? How many t-shirts? Recall or Reduce? But come on, I'm also curious how on earth such a blatant error got through inspection.