About Me

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I am 42. I am married to the love of my life. Together we have two beautiful young adults who bring me joy everyday. Secretly, I'm counting the years till grandbabies start coming; they just need to find their forever loves first. We have lived in Florida for 3 years (transplanted from WI) and we finally love it. I graduated with my AA in Business Foundations from UoPhoenix in February 2014! Yay, me!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Picture Perfect

I want you all to meet my good friend, April Musser, who owns Shiree Photography here in Pensacola, FL. Here is her website and Here is her Facebook page. She is amazing. She did my daughter's Senior pictures in 2013, and since then has had a wee one of her own. 

One of Stefani's Senior pictures. (My personal favorite)

Let me first say that I cannot get over the perfection that is April's baby, Claire. She is such a beautiful baby, and the perfect model. April and I have decided to collaborate on some photos with Claire modeling some pieces I have made. Enjoy. :) They make me smile. 

I have also included links to all of the patterns highlighted in the pictures.  
(Just click on the pictures to enlarge them)

crochet pattern

crochet pattern

crochet pattern

knit pattern

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lush Garden Bavarian Stitch Afghan Instructions!!

Hey all!

I finally got some instructions written out for you to be able to create your own Lush Garden Bavarian Stitch Afghan.

I did not include written instructions for the individual squares because they are based off one simple pattern. Since the pattern itself is very confusing to read, I opted to include the link to the YouTube video that I used to familiarize myself with the Bavarian Stitch pattern. 

This is the afghan completed (final size is 72" x 52"- the squares themselves are 12"x12"). All of the instructions are included for what I did to get my afghan to look like this, other than the Bavarian Stitch instructions.  I feel like I need to let you know that this is NOT a beginner project. If you are not a strong crocheter, you will become discouraged by this pattern. For your sanity, please just be aware of that, because I won't be able to guide you through learning this pattern step-by-step. 

If you have any questions about the pattern, you may contact me, however I won't be able to help you if you are a beginner that has chosen to attempt this project. 

Following are  few of the individual squares and the color combinations I went with. I wanted each square to remind me of something in or around a garden. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Battling Inner Demons- Free patterns and Paid patterns

Hello all (long post),

It's been a very long time since I sat down to the computer with the intent on sharing more than a new pattern with you. 

I recently read something somewhere about free patterns vs for sale patterns, and I want to talk about that. I think I might have brought this up once or twice in the past, but it's been so long now that I can't remember the previous conversation. I honestly can't remember the article I read, or where it was, but apparently it bothered me on an unconscious level because here I am preparing to pour my heart out on the matter. 

The feeling that I walked away with from reading the article was that, somehow, by giving my patterns away I am devaluing them, and other designers. I'm pretty sure that isn't what was in the article. And I'm also pretty sure my opinion was swayed heavily by my hormonal situation. Just the same, I want to address why I give my patterns away.

There are those of you who know me. Some on a personal level, most just because you've followed my blog for years. However, many, MANY of you don't know me at all. My "giving" started way before I knew how to design. My daughter was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) when she was 9 years old. She went through 2 years and 2 months of chemotherapy. The outpouring of support and love for us was a very overwhelming thing. I wanted to sow back to the people that had blessed us, and impacted us, and saved my daughter's life. I made boxes of toys, and blankets, and baby hats, etc for the hospital that Stefani was treated through. We dealt with the Child Life Specialists at the hospital on a quite frequent basis. They were so gracious and so happy with the boxes I brought. I really felt like I was making a difference in someone's life. Designing came much later.

I started designing toys just for fun. I think my very first written design came because I joined in a swap on Crochetville where I would send toys to someone's kids, and she would send toys to mine. I made her little girl a doll with red hair to match and a backpack to put the doll in. The little girl was easy. However, the little boy was into space and astronaut type stuff. This was about 10 years ago, and even though crochet patterns were on the rise, there just wasn't anything near the amount of patterns available now. Little boy patterns were especially hard to find. I came up with my Rocketship with Astronauts and Aliens toy bag pattern for her little boy. I, then, made a set for my nephew for Christmas along with designing the Fantasy Castle with Characters set for my niece. Toy patterns just started flowing out of me. Pokemon characters, and American Girl patterns, and more toy bags, and learning toys. I honestly didn't want any money for them, I just wanted people to have access to some fun toy patterns. 

As time went along, and my designing got better, I considered selling my patterns. I originally tried selling my AG patterns on Ebay. I ended up hating it. I can't stand Ebay, but Etsy was still a fledgling website and I really didn't know anything about it. I eventually ended up giving away my AG patterns too. I began to deal with some inner demons of a sort after that. People in my life thought I should be selling my patterns, I was worried that if I charged for them no one would want them...or use them. To be quite honest, I wanted people to use my patterns more than I wanted money for them. I spent a lot of time praying about what to do. I tried submitting some designs to a magazine or two. Never heard a word back from anyone. To me, that was the crochet world telling me I wasn't good enough, and my patterns weren't good enough. But, I had people that loved my free patterns. 

Over the years, I have continued to give away my patterns. Not because I felt like I had to anymore, (many of my patterns were gaining notoriety, and being shared by several free pattern search engines.) but because I wanted to. All that time I spent in prayer led me to the conclusion that this is a ministry for me. It not only brings me great joy, but I feel like I am feeding into people's lives...even if it's only in the smallest way. I had someone at a church that I started attending give me the "what for" because she thought I should be selling my patterns. She told me that those are ideas given to me by God to profit me, and that I wasn't being a good steward with what he had placed in me. She makes and sells jewelry, and told me that she would never teach anyone how to make jewelry because that would be taking business away from herself. I don't understand this kind of thinking. I honestly don't. God NEVER gave me my talent for me to hoard. I have received email after email from one person or the next telling me how grateful they are that I gave my patterns away. Grandma's on fixed budgets, mom's with a house full of kids and limited funds, etc that tell me if it weren't for free patterns like mine, they would have had a hard time making cute toys for their kids and grandkids for Christmas and Birthdays. I don't necessarily need the kudos, but I appreciate and treasure every single letter I get like that. It means so much that I was able to help them in their time of need. I have been through many dry years in my life where I needed and didn't have, and it was because of the generosity of someone else that I was able to get through or succeed. That's all I want to be. A funnel for the blessings that God bestows upon me. God has blessed me with this gift. All praise goes to him for it. Without him and the patterns he drops in my heart, I wouldn't be the kind of designer I am. I'm no Elizabeth Zimmerman (yet)...but, I am getting better with every design and every pattern. 

I have under 10 patterns that I have available for sale. These patterns were put up with a price because I asked God what he thought, and I felt peace about charging for them. If I don't feel peace about charging for a pattern, I give it away for free. That's just how it works. I believe he wants me to use my hands to create, and to give, and to sow, and eventually...to reap. It's all about him in the end, anyway. :) He has graced me with favor to have a pattern purchased by a major yarn company recently. I'm just waiting until they put it out so I can share it with you. But, I would have given it away if he told me to.

But...back to the article that put this bug up my booty. I think that if people want to sell their patterns they absolutely should, but I don't feel like a 'paid' pattern is somehow superior to a free one. I don't feel like a free pattern should come with a stigma of "lesser quality". I do my very best to make sure that each pattern would be worth purchasing. After all, shouldn't we be putting our very best foot forward? I have run across quite a few free patterns that were really hard to understand, so I can sympathize with someone raising an issue about  "just because it's free doesn't mean you don't have to do a good job". I just don't want someone labeling a free pattern designer as "not as good". 

It takes me back to when knitting was becoming this hot phenomenon about 10-12 years ago. All of a sudden all the Urbanites were buying knitting needles and hand painted yarns, and making scarves and socks. I happened to open a yarn store in the midst of it all. I had quite a few people come through my doors downplaying crochet, and turning their noses up at my simplistic yarn selection. I was servicing a small community in the middle of nowhere filled with little old ladies that wanted cheap acrylic yarn...not handspun alpaca for $25.00 a hank! The tourists were. the. worst. I even had one woman argue with me that the sweater that I had displayed in my window could not be crochet, because "you can't crochet like that." I simply said, "Well, it is crochet, because I made it and I don't know how to knit." This overall attitude permeated the internet too. That's why places like Crochetville were created. So there was somewhere for people who crocheted to gather and talk about their craft without fear of being treated like the red-headed step child of the crafting world...even though we were on all the other crafting forums. Even Ravelry was really bad for a while. Then groups like Crochet Liberation Front started up and took a stand. 

Don't get me wrong, I love knitting now. I became a dual fiber crafter when I owned my yarn store because I needed to be able to talk to my knitting customers knowledgeably. But, in this comparison between knitters vs crocheters, and paid patterns vs free patterns....that same "snooty" behavior is beginning to permeate the air of pattern designing. 

I guess what I'm trying to say to the crafting world is this: Please don't put out the vibe that just because a pattern is free- it's of a lesser quality. Those of us that give our patterns away do it intentionally. It's not a mistake. For myself, it is no longer an insecurity issue either. I want to add that I don't feel like I'm taking anything away from the rest of the designers out there because I choose to give my patterns away. I work very hard at not replicating patterns for free that I know are out there for sale somewhere. If something like that happens...I have no idea, and it's never intentional. When something pops in my head, I will usually do a search on Ravelry and Google to see if anything like that is already done, and if it is...then I don't bother sharing my version, because that's over kill. No sense in just continuing to repeat what everyone else has done. If it's not unique..then why share it? It's just white noise at that point. 

I am even going to be so bold as to say this...if you run across a free pattern....don't steal the idea and write up your own version and sell it. That's tacky. It's as tacky as stealing the idea from a paid pattern and giving it away for free. 

I know several designers now. Many of them are friends with me on Facebook. Many of them sell their patterns. In no way am I pointing a finger at any of them. They are full of integrity, and really cute ideas. I like to promote their patterns on my page. I like promoting their sales, etc on my page. I am all about a free market...I am also all about a 'good deal'. lol. 

If I injured you, I'm sorry. This long rant is in no way a "Down with paid patterns" rant. Instead, it is an "All patterns should be taken on their own merits" rant! Let me know if you have something to say on this subject. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

NEW FREE PATTERN! Jack Skellington Beanie

Stefani and Jack Skellington at ParaCon Pensacola 2013
My daughter's favorite movie, since about the age of 9 or 10 (maybe earlier?),  is The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton. I never could understand that. It's a strange little movie. Come to find out...a LOT of people love that movie! I actually created this hat last year at special request by my cousin, Micah. (I have yet to get a picture of him wearing it. *hint*hint*) I didn't write the pattern down because I didn't figure I would be making many of them, and...I just didn't want to. 

I have had so many people like the picture on Instagram that when one of them asked me for a pattern, I figured it was time to write it out. The pictures are a combination of the one I made for Micah (modeled by my son, Teo) and the one I made so I could write the pattern. The one I made Micah is longer than the sample hat, and both instructions are included in the pattern itself. The pattern is written for an adult head 21"-23", but there are instructions for sizing the hat to any head included at the end of the pattern. 

Without any further ado...if you are lover of Jack...go here to get the Free PDF download

Monday, June 02, 2014

NEW FREE Pattern!! "Chubby Baby Flip-Flop Sandals"

Here's my newest FREE pattern: "Chubby Baby Flip-Flop Sandals" 

This pattern is available in four sizes from 0-3 Month up to 9-12 Month

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

This week has been crazy!

So, the craziness of the last week started with the release of the Irish Waves Baby Blanket pattern last Tuesday. I had no idea this was going to "blow up" like it did. Right away on Wednesay morning The Crochet Crowd shared it on their Facebook page, then later on in the day Kim Guzman contacted me about featuring it on her website the next morning, then the day finished with Moogly sharing it on her page. 

I thought, "Holy Cow! Who knew people would like this so much?!?" And I thought the hoopla was over. I had my 15 minutes of fame. LOL. But, then the post actually came out on Kim Guzman's www.makeitcrochet.com on Thursday morning. All I can say is that the traffic to my website went crazy!! I loved it, but I had made a mistake on the patterns first row on the afghan, so I spent most of my weekend giving people correct directions through email until I could get back to my work computer and fix the pattern itself and reload it on the web (run-on sentence, much?).  From Kim Guzman's blog post yesterday the Irish Wave Pattern was the most popular free pattern in the history of her makeitcrochet website to that date! I. am. floored. And super blessed. Thank you to everyone for your overwhelming support of this pattern! :)

However, you know me, and you know I can't keep my fingers still even in the wake of an epic moment like that. I had promised a box of toys to my good friend Carolyn of Herr Projects OKC. She was the lovely individual that sent me all the yarn you see in the Irish Wave blanket. So, I started with a Seamus the Owl knitted pattern from Ravelry.  

Here is the first Seamus made from a light wool blend on Thursday.

Then I made another Seamus out of worsted weight on Friday and I called him "Kelly".

Then I thought "How fun would it be to do it in sock yarn??" So this is "Morgan" and she was born Friday night. 

I got tired of knitting and decided to crochet, but I thought I needed to make something with texture something like Seamus' texture. So, I created "Bridgette" out of Jamie baby yarn and an F hook. Her pattern will be coming soon. She was born Saturday morning.

I decided to crochet another one, but the sock yarn pulled me in again. I thought the colors would be very pretty in the texture. This is "Madelaine", Maddy for short. She was born Saturday, too. 

Finally, we have "Peach" in the Seamus pattern again. She is a combination of two Jamie yarns put together and knit with size 8's. She was on Saturday too. 

By the time I finished "Peach", I was just about owled out. So, I decided to take a break from the feathered group and make something totally different. There are some really fun knit animal patterns on Ravelry! This is the Knit Hedgehogs pattern by Purl Soho. I LOVED the fact that I didn't have to make ten pieces and sew them together. I am still not brave enough in my knit item assembly skills to attempt making anything with "parts". The yellow section was knit as one piece, then the gray was added and stitches were picked up along the side as you went. So by the time you got to the butt, you just stuffed it, finished off the decreases and closed it up! Then you do four simple rows for the ears...and voila! You have a hedgehog. This is one of my all-time favorite patterns now!

When I posted my picture on Instagram/FB, one of my friends ordered one for her daughter right away. So, this little mint/blue guy is hers. 

After minty guy I was completely 'toyed' out for a bit. I am moving on...sort of...to some afghans. This first picture is the color plans for a July wedding afghan. They are very young couple, and they don't really have a color scheme for their home, so I am making the afghan in their wedding colors. Mint green, blush pink, light grey, burlap brown, and I am throwing cream in there as a buffer. I am going to use the African Flower pattern for this afghan. I really can't WAIT to get on this afghan!! I think it is going to be gorgeous! I plan to double the size I made the one for my niece so that it snuggles two comfortably. :) 

Last, but not least, in the middle of my toy making I decided to start a Fluffy Meringue baby blanket by Patons yesterday. I will work on this until I am inspired to make toys again. If you have any toy suggestions..throw them at me!! I don't want to make anymore owls. I think I may make another hedgehog or two...but I'm ready to move on...lol

The Fluffy Meringue is being made with Bernat Baby Sport yarn in Blue Popsicle and a G hook. The pattern calls for fingering vintage lace yarn and an E hook.... Um, No. For an afghan the smallest I am willing to go is a G hook, and baby weight, and only if the pattern is one that builds rather quickly, like the Fluffy Meringue. Anything smaller than that??? Fuhgetaboutit!!

Hope you've had some inspiration from today's post! Come visit me on Facebook/BizzyCrochet, or stop by my website and say hi!

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

NEW FREE- Irish Wave Baby Blanket

Good day, all!

This is the project that has had me consumed for several days now. I ran across this Pinterest post last week and pinned it. My cousin mentioned having trouble reading charts, so I offered to write it out for her. Once I started on it, and started posting pictures on Instagram people were going crazy over it. Imagine my surprise! lol 

I have even had several people in my personal Facebook life that have asked for the pattern. That has only served to spur me toward the finish line with this little beauty. 

The pattern itself is so simple, and memorize-able (word?), that you can allow yourself to have fun with it after you get the hang of it. I will tell you this, though, when you are zipping along throwing all your trc clusters in there, remember you always need three in the center. I made the mistake several times of not really watching what I was doing and had to rip out a couple rows in order to correct it. I typically love to "hide" my mistakes instead of ripping out, but you simply can't hide a missing trc cluster. lol. 

The finished size of the baby blanket is approximately 46" x 32". Very generous for a baby blanket, and if you use the "soft" yarns, it is like a warm, squishy cloud. 

Corrections: For those that picked the pattern up before May 12, 2014: 
There is an error in Row 1. There should only be one ch2,  sk 6, sc in next stitch, ch2,  sk 6 between trc clusters. I put my asterisk in the wrong spot. 

And "sm" space, stands for "Same Space"

One of the many beautiful things about this particular pattern is that you don't have to put a border on it when you're done, unless you want to. I chose not to, because the sides sort of finish themselves off. Plus, there is so much movement going on inside the bulk of the blanket, I didn't want anything to take away from it's beauty, or make it an eyesore.  I hope you enjoy this pattern!