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yet more yarny-ness {"really Tif? there's a surprise"}

i have taken the plunge and i purchased the corally reddy orange tweedy yarn yesterday at work. i was wavering i must confess, for a lovely little tweedy green number kept whispering my name. however it was declared by the dearies at work i am always wearing green and i must branch out. 
so i did 

upon arrival home, Little Olive inspected the colour closely and declared it was tres jolly and most suited to a crochet knitty sweater vest. that is the grand thing about critters, they are always on your side and always optimistic about things. we could learn a lot from little critters i am thinking

i sat down and quite frighteningly did the maths (maths not being my forte), i checked it thrice, not twice. i pondered the arm holes and the neckline, after some pondering and a bit of planning, decided that will come later, for now the most important thing was to cast on the correct amount of stitches to make the rib work out (and fit my bod) and then the crochet stitch pattern i wished to do, fit also with the number of stitches of rib (and fit my bod).

again i wavered... i noted Mr Doubter in the corner, smiling happily to himself, i told him, "not today Mr Doubter, no sirree!" and i plunged again, the second time in one day, into casting on my stitches

as the rows grew, so did my doubt, i noted Mr Doubter had moved a little closer. my man then exclaimed upon arrival home, "are you working on hair band?" alarmed by this question, i told him what it was to become, he looked a little doubtful and asked "will it fit?" i then decided to ignore both him and Mr Doubter and told myself their knowledge on yarny matters was quite sketchy and i must trust my inner crafty soul and that the yarny gods were guiding me wisely.

this morn i have high hopes the waistband will fit, i have banished Mr Doubter once and for all and as soon as the rib is finished and Mr Hook comes into play i will be able to try it on. although half of me does not wish to, for if it does not fit i will have to go back to square one and i do not wish to do so. i tell myself only a fool of the utmost kind would think such a thing, surely it is better to rip back and start again now rather than ending up with a crochet knitty sweater vest suitable only for a small being or little critter

footynote: next week i will be rambling on about other things than yarn, "about time too!" i hear you cry, "point taken," says i

Granny Chic in Japan...

i do not think i mention my printed books tres often, in fact i am quite sure i am a publisher's worst sort of author as i tend to stay quite quiet about them. however yesterday afternoon the mail man knocked on the door, the constant canine companions went quite batty and there on the mat was a package from the UK. within its paper outters lay 2 copies of Granny Chic in Japanese.

i could not help but marvel at the book in my mitts. Japanese craft books were a huge part in the journey i took when first starting out with dottie angel and i still cannot quite believe upon the bookshelves in Japan, since last year my dottie angel book has sat and now, Granny Chic which i co-wrote with my granny chic partner in crime, Rachelle will be along side of it.

i do not think i mentioned either that earlier last year Granny Chic, just a few months after being published in the UK, was published in Dutch and German. quite remarkable really.

i have proudly popped my Japanese version of Granny Chic on the book shelf next to my other books, where it will stay as a reminder to myself.. of this unknown crafty journey of mine i started 7 years ago, the things which have been and the things of which are still to come.

footynote: the fabby photos in Granny Chic were taken by Catherine Gratwicke and it was published originally by Kyle Books 

Lola Fleur Catering & Events

I recently completed work on a site for a catering and events company based out of Mississippi. The owner, Jennifer, is a fellow mommy of three under 3, so she holds a special place in my heart for a myriad of reasons. The least of which is juggling a crazy schedule with an emerging business. I loved her style - fresh, classic and feminine.

Under Jenn's project I got to work in a number of capacities, the first of which was helping her name the company. After a few brainstorming sessions, Lola Fleur emerged as the clear winner. Lola was Jenn's grandmother's name and holds a special meaning for her. Fleur is the french word for flowers which just fit the brand well. Starting with concepts for flowering rosemary and then moving through lavender, we worked through concepts for her visual identity. A few brainstorming sessions later and we had graphic branches and solid color concept to execute on the visual elements for her brand.

I have to say that this is one of my favorite parts of working with clients, helping them realize their vision, create concepts, narrow down their messaging, and fall in love with their brand.

Jenn's site included several interior pages outlining her business offerings and relationships within the event planning community. We also created an accordion menu to answer clients' most frequently asked questions and a tiled image gallery to showcase her work. Both of these elements are components that she can easily update and add to on her own as her business grows.

Her site was coded with a custom contact form with fields defined for easy inbox sorting, allowing her to discern web-driven emails from those regularly coming into her inbox. This helps create a streamlined process for responding to new and current clients.

And, finally, her site was created with a custom blog, allowing her to showcase her work and ideas. The blog is organized by categories and features allowing users to access the most relevant information to them, or just peruse all of the areas of Jenn's business easily.

We created these fun icons for Jenn's home page which create a secondary navigation to pages within her site and also link to other components of her brand, like her catering to go business.

Lola Fleur Catering & Events is set to launch later this year. Jenn's events are truly gorgeous and I can't wait to see where this business goes under her direction.

a whole lot of yarny plotting and planning going on...

having spent quite a few happy moments making little crocheted patches of goodness from my crochet bible, i have settled upon the stitch pattern for my next project. i still have quite a few little swatches i wish to work my way through but all in good time. i must admit my fabby fav thing is when my little patch is done, pinning it to the carpet so it is all square or rectangle-ly and blasting it with hot steam, after 5 minutes you can remove the pins and your little square of yarny goodness is perfectly perfect. perhaps you may be wondering what on earth i am rabbiting on about, if so, you may wish to go here to see Claire doing a jolly good job on YouTube demonstrating what i have not done so well in words. 

anyhow, despite all the wonderful little stitch patterns i came across in my crochet bible, i had in my mind a crochet sweater vest (its been lurking there for the longest time) and so my stitch hunt was narrowed down. 
having finished up my knitted one, 

i learnt along the way several things including, despite my wishes, i am not a knitter of the utmost kind. knitting i can dabble in, but crocheting is my true love. thus i thought to myself, well surely upon all surelies a crocheted sweater vest is possible. and of course it is, there are quite a few out there, however they tend to be of the granny square variety or lacey gappy little numbers but i, yes little old me, wished for a crocheted vest that did not look like crochet on first inspection. 

hence a rather densely stitched fabric but no so dense you could not move in it. crochet tends to not have as much give as knitting, and a bit of stretch would be required in a sweater vest or else one would never get it over one's head and if one did, perhaps not be able to move fully or worse still, be overcome by a hot moment and flay around the place trying to remove said crocheted sweater vest and with no give, it would be rather tricky dicky. i am quite sure such a moment would induce a panic attack, thus i am wisely thinking about this matter, for panic attacks are a no~no in my books.

to me one thing was clear, there is not a lot of give in a chain stitch edging, thus my cogs were pondering what if knitting could be combined with the crochet. i pondered this after wrestling one afternoon with crocheting a rib edging and decided it was taking me longer then if i were to have knitted it in the first place. where upon as my cogs were shifting through this thought, a lovely dearie called Mary from the shop whom crochets along her merry way most days, suggested the very same thing. she then very kindly went home to try it out and a few days later brought back the example and we both exclaimed 'by jove, i think we've got it!' and so it came to be, i would knit the rib and then take Mr Hook and pick up the stitches one at a time to crochet them off the needle and voila! all set to go on my crocheting way.

next thought was the yarn, i had in my mind for the longest time, even before i made my knitted sweater vest, of a tweedy yarn, the sort that Rowan does so well, but alas and alack, most tweedy yarns are 100% sheep wool in our store and do not do me any good. but there is one, called Kenzie (not super flecky tweedy but it was also not 100% wool) and so i thought i would give it whirl. and whirl we did. 

i noted my rib was pants (knitting picking style) but i carried on. i noted i did not like how thin the rib looked on size 5 needles next to the crocheted bit 

i pondered, i doubled the yarn, found some size 8 needles lurking in the drawer and knitted the rib again, this time throwing style, once again managing to make a blib in the rib. 

i told myself, fret not, this is trial run, a blib in the rib is excusable. of course then i had 2 threads upon my needle and only required only 1 thread to pick up for crocheting. this was fixed quite easily with a bit of magically twiddling and fiddling and on my crocheting way i went. the crochet part of my soon to be a sweater vest is really very simple, its alternating between a single crochet and a double crochet (USA terms) and then the opposite coming back along the row. 

i believe to me, it is the moss stitch/seed stitch equivalent of knitting and looks most marvelous in the tweedy yarn.

it looks a tad frighteningly bright but rest assured, the colour is more muted than this little picture depicts. i like to think it is a corally red. i have no idea why i am doing it in this colour, i don't think i wear red, but i do like coral so i have high hopes for it...

so now all that is left is to do the maths.
 (i expect my dad just felt a little faint and i have no doubt is fretting for my little sweater vest upon me mentioning maths)
i must calculate how many stitches are required to cast on to fit my bod, divisible by 3 so the knit 2, purl 1 rib may work with the crochet stitch pattern which requires a count of 2 plus 1 at the end. i am thankful i learnt my 3 times table as a small being. 

and then if the math and crochet gods are in line, this crochet knitty sweater vest in my head may just have a fighting chance of actually fitting. hence i will make it in the round so once it is off the needles and onto Mr Hook i can try it on as i go. and if need be, tweaking it here and there until i get to the shaping bit of the neck and the armholes where once again, i will sit, i will ponder and i will think of the little engine who could before i proceed upon my crocheting way...

marvelous mondays and the winner is...

well i had a mighty fine time of things reading through all the comments kindly telling me what you do to make you happy in january. thank you so kindly for entering my little giveaway. of course silly old me, for some it is the height of hot days in january. this led me to thinking, here we call it the 'january blues', but i am wondering if in exotic climes when winter is in june, july and august, do they call it the 'july blues'? which would be really odd to me but perfectly normal to another perhaps? i have pondered this all week, i wonder how i would fair living in the southern hemisphere (please please let that be correct) and am thinking perhaps before i pop my clogs i should try doing so.

and so we have a winner, and a winner from the southern hemisphere no less! 

I am a school teacher in a remote country town in Australia. It is a scorching summer here and our average temperature is 40deg Celsius. We are also in a drought so my garden is pretty depressing. Needless to say we are on school holidays and I spend my days in the pool, at school prepping and trying really hard to get some crochet done in the aircon. Your blog is so inspirational and I read it just to look at the green outside your window sometimes!
Jodee xoxo

congratulations Jodee Murrie, hurrah hooray! and thank you kindly for giving this little string of yarny goodness a happy home

now do not fret, nor hang your head and weep if you are not Jodee living in a heatwave with a depressed garden, for another little string of happy will appear in February looking for a home to live, hence another chance to win one 
("oh how simply marvelous" i hear you cry, "that's the spirit" say i)

in the meantime, today is monday, i like mondays, i used not to for the longest time because it reminded me of school, that sunday night feeling of school rolling around again, monday morning dawns and back to the grind stone. this feeling has lived with me through many many years past my school days however recently this has changed for mondays have now become 'my day' when nothing is on the calendar work related, clan related, keep fit related, chore related, it is a free day. how marvelous to have a free day out of 7 days a week to do with what one wishes. of course what starts out to be a free day usually ends up nothing of the sort, but i like to hold onto monday all through the week, plotting and planning what i will do, carefree and without guilt when it rolls around to play.

today after i have finished tippity tapping this here ramble, i will talk to my mother on the phone, i will sort laundry (clean undies are at an all time crisis low due to shawl making madness last week) then i will finish up editing a crochet pattern i am working on for my employer (gosh, that sounds terribly important and really quite grown~up), then i will check my crocheted headscarf wrappity wrap to see if it is dry from blocking. 

i have never washed and blocked before, i am impatient and i wish it to hurry up and dry, i go and check on it every few hours. this morn i was hopeful it was nearly dry but my hopes were dashed when i felt it underneath. then, after all that, my 'free day' will begin, where upon i will dabble with hook and yarn and my new crochet bible, we will swatch like we have never swatched before to our hearts content for an hour or so before my lads are home with the car and i can spend the rest of my 'free day' grocery shopping. yes, i do so love my mondays now, i love every day of the week if truth be told, each day holds something creative to do, or something to remind me that right now, in the moment, not in the future and not in the past, is where i find my happy...

a crochet bible of the utmost kind...

yesterday at work (think i have taken up residence there this past week) a new book came in. my yarny buddy Veronika exclaimed it was the one she had been telling me all about. (recall skills, let me down). Veronika is busy learning crochet but as i have said before and i will say it again, she is a knitter of the utmost kind. you may think, ummm, perhaps, perhaps not, but if i told you Veronika makes the knitted garment samples that are used within the pages of published knitting books, then i think you will agree she knows a thing or two. 

V (i think that is perfectly okay to shorten Veronika to V for today) often departs nuggets of information my way. some days i do a terribly good job at listening well and hence slowly but surely i am learning more and more about yarn, its ingredients, what it can and can't do and other such things. on other days i must confess my listening skills are rusty dusty and try as i might within a few minutes, the little nugget so kindly offered to me has disappeared into the black hole in my cogs never to see daylight again. hence i am quite sure V often thinks when i ask yet the same question a day later, "is Tif listening, is she short of a penny or two?!" but never ever says so, no sirree! just kindly responds as if it were the first time i had ever inquired if such and such a yarn can do such and such a thing.

a crochet bible of the utmost kind

hence when V presented me with The Complete Book of Crocheting Stitches i was most intrigued, for i have numerous crochet books upon my crafty shelf but recent times have led me to wish i had a crochet bible. only last week i was hunting around the internet aisles for such a thing, i found plenty of inspiring crochet recipe books of which i placed a hold upon, at my local library, so i may pour over whilst having a cuppa one late afternoon. however what i really really wanted was an indian rubber ball. no, no i did not! that was King John who wanted that! i do not wish for one of those, no, not in the least, what i really really wanted was a crochet stitch bible so i may pour over all the different patterns one could achieve with just a little hook, a length of yarn and a knowledge of a few simple crochet stitches. 

this little sweetie i started before my crochet bible found me, i am muchly happy with how it is working out, i am hopeful i may show and tell later in the week

and so it was to be, the crochet gods had listened and answered my prayers through Veronika suggesting we carry a certain book in the store to Anna. (serendipity once again). as i was working, i did not sit and read,  however, i had a quick flick through and determined it had great potential to become my crochet bible so i parted with my hard earned pennies (this appears to be a recurring theme when one works in a yarn store) and brought my book home with me last night. (or did i, 'bought' my book home with me? i don't know, my dad will know, he will advise me upon reading this)

this morn, with a shed quiet and not even a guinea pig stirring, (my lads of three having left long ago for the Robot State Championships) i took my time to really look through the pages of what appeared to be a most marvelous medley of crochet stitch patterns. i read the foreword learning the book had been written many years before and recently updated by the author Linda P. Schapper and then after 5 minutes i had to put the book down, my crocheting heart had started to race, i saw patterns that had me gasping at their beauty, so many i started to shake... how would i get to them all, how would i mark them all in my little (big) book, what if i lost one amongst the other 500 never to be spied again?

my crocheting buddies, late last night, keeping me warm and shortly after this picture was taken, i overheated rapidly

i have placed my little (big) crochet bible on the side whilst i contemplate how i will recall where each pattern i have fallen in love with, is within the cover. i do not wish to 'highlight' all over the pictorial index in the first few pages, nope, highlighter pen would not do upon its lovely new pages. i dabbled with thoughts of post~it~notes but did not wish to have hundreds of little bits of paper sticking out of its sides, plus i don't own enough post~it~notes. turning down corners would be a crime, torn up bits of paper would finally fall out. and so i am thinking perhaps i may dabble with a pencil, for a pencil is erasable, i would circle ever~so~lightly all the little mini images in the pictorial index and thus i would not forget the ones that made my heart skip an extra beat and in turn i can get to each and every one of them, in an orderly fashion, taking my time, no little pattern left behind and not have to lie awake at night fretting my recall skills will let me down.

just a few more hours to enter my 'little string of yarny goodness' giveaway, you can find the details right over here and tomorrow i will return with a winner! oh yippee! 

Love Letters (Boy Edition)

Tomorrow ends Ryan's first week of school. Each day I've been painstakingly packing his lunches and praying he's eating. Eating is a chore in this house and, unfortunately, I am somewhat limited in what I can send unless I want to drive his teachers completely BSC.

His daily reports have been coming back great and most of his lunch is being eaten. Hallelujah.

On top of the whole, "will he or won't he eat this" nonsense, I have been writing little notes for him each day. Just so he remembers that I'm still here and so that he knows that I am missing him every second of every day. I am not an artist in the least, and after a few days I have exhausted my repertoire of doodles for his lunch box notes. That is to say, I drew a flower, a heart, a sun and a stick figure. And I'm spent.

So tonight I created little love letters to tuck into his lunch box instead. This is much easier than being creative at 11:30 p.m. And the notes are quite cute. I thought some other mommies might be able to benefit from my insanity. Feel free to download a set of love letters and use them with your kiddos. I printed them on cardstock, but you can print them on normal printer paper. Cut along the lines, write a little note, tuck it into your little guy's lunch box and ta-da! Awesomeness.

Enjoy :)

tee hee Mister Muchly...

Ryan's First Day

I posted an update about Ryan's first day to Facebook and Instagram, but wanted to just update here quickly also. Thank you (so much) for all of the support and encouragement as our family goes through this transitional time.

Yesterday, Ryan and I waited for the bus in my Vanborghini and he
totally rocked the bus ride to school. I buckled him into his carseat and he started to fuss, but that quickly subsided when I handed him a special bin of new cars and planes that are for the bus only. The aide said he played with his cars and counted and talked
about airplanes. 

When the transportation company arrived at his school I was waiting there to meet him. I carried him into his school and he took his coat off and
walked away from me to go play. And he never looked back. 

I took him to his new
school once in December to play in his classroom and attend PE with his
classmates and he remembered everything -- he walked down the hallway right to his classroom like that was no big deal. You have to love a photographic memory. 

His first day report seemed to indicate that he did well. It was underwhelming and unremarkable, which is, I suppose, better than a note full of bad news. He ate his all of his lunch (this is huge) and was willing to participate in his individual therapy sessions. I wish the school had gone into more detail about how everything went, but I don't know if any report will ever be able to replace me experiencing his day alongside of him.

The transition has been hard on me. I miss him every second of the day. Our normal toddler activities are still happening, only it's just me and the girls and that feels alien. I've realized I don't know my daughter as well as I thought I did outside of the context of her twinship. A realization that is heartbreaking. We played Barbie's yesterday for the first time and it felt as cool as it did uncomfortable. 

Reese is struggling too. She is needing lots of hugs and lots of attention. Her antics warrant patience, and I am trying so hard to give her the room that she needs right now to adjust. I am not sure either one of us knows how to live in a world where Ryan isn't a constant part of our days. 

I am sure, with time, this will get easier. Hell, we all got used to having 5 therapists in our home 20 hours per week for the last six months and, let's be honest, that's not normal at all. But on Monday when no revolving door of therapists came, it was off-putting. It's funny the things you can get used to. So while this situation is unconventional and, frankly, undesirable, this too will become our version of normal. 

Hopefully one day I won't feel compelled to tell everyone that Reese is a twin, that I have three kids, not two, when we're out and about. But right now I feel like I need to remind everyone that one of us  is missing. 

a shawl of the utmost kind...

i am thinking my newly finished shawl of the utmost kind is worth all the hours of ripping back, all the piles of laundry left unwashed, all the clan neglect and all the critters full of sorrowful eyes as their ears have gone untickled this past week

i am beyond hippity happy and i am beyond amazed i actually made it. 

before i started my shawl it never occurred to me it may be tres tricky to do, i am thinking that is because i live in the world of crocheted rectangles and squares and rarely venture out of my comfort zone, thus i was fooled into a false sense of crocheting security. i must confess even upon finishing my shawl i am still not sure if it was me or the pattern that was the problemo, or perhaps a bit of both. however it does not matter, for what matters is, i gave the old gray cells a bit of an airing, dusted them off, and in return they proved to me there is still life in them yet...

if you would like to crochet such a shawl, you will find the pattern over here, however please note i added an edging along the shoulders by taking row 1 to 6 from the beginning of the individual module pattern, i also dropped down to a hook size 5mm, i added a row of single crochet on the reverse side of the shawl along the bottom edging and lastly but not leastly, i used Madinetosh DK in the colour Antler.

The Roller Coaster Up

Tonight I will pack my son a lunch in his brand new lunchbox for the first time. I will put in his favorite snack, a sandwich I hope he'll eat, and a cookie, because I know if he eats nothing else he will eat that cookie. I won't be there tomorrow to make him something different if the texture of the sandwich doesn't fit his needs, or if the smell is somehow different. I won't be there to sit him on my lap and help him eat if he's disorganized. I won't be there.

I wasn't prepared for that lunchbox. For picking it out and ordering it. For opening it and making sure all of the food containers fit neatly inside. For explaining to his twin sister that I didn't get her a lunch box because she still gets to eat at home.

Tomorrow a bus will come and pick up my son and drive him to school. He will start a new life that involves spending 35 hours a week away from me, with someone else driving him to his new destination. And I wonder, did I give him enough of a platform to jump from? Will they continue to help my baby develop into the sweet and tender little guy that he was on the path to becoming? Do they know how often he needs hugs and high-fives? If I tell them, will they remember?

Ryan's school is a good one. I hand-picked it after months of touring schools and interviewing staff. It is the right choice for him. For all of us. He is ready. He has plateaued at home and gotten as far as he can with home- and community-based therapy. Now he needs to go to a larger, social learning environment and learn how to generalize his skills. Learn how to keep his language in a crowd of people. Learn how to cope. And he's ready to do all of these things, with help.

But I am not ready. I am not ready to send him out without me. To lose him for all of those extra hours. To trust someone else to guide him and teach him. I am not ready.

I am so, so angry, but I have nowhere to put it. And underneath that anger is a wave of grief so large that when I let myself feel it, I am sure I will drown. I am a fixer and I can't fix this. I can only wait to see what happens and hope. The waiting kills me.

I have theories -- not taking always my folic acid when I was pregnant, the CPC's they found in his brain when I was pregnant, the genetic possibility. I may have done this to him, I may have caused this.

I have guilt -- that I didn't fight harder to get him services when he was screened at 15 months, that I didn't see this sooner, that I didn't know what to look for, that I didn't question the people who were the supposed experts when I knew they were wrong.

I have grief -- that he may never have a wife and children, that he may never have a true friend, that he may only learn the social expectations we have for him and imitate them and not truly have a conversation that makes him laugh so hard his belly hurts.


He has so many skills. Joint attention (the ability to socially reference others to follow instructions or see how to do something), eye contact, the desire for approval, seeking out affection, spontaneous and appropriate language, pretend play, imitation. So many good things. But the last few weeks, with the break in his routine, he has been the worst I have ever seen him. Hand wringing, facial ticks, verbal stim, teeth grinding. He got a sinus infection and I noticed that with his illness he started to rock himself. Several nights this week, his disability has been so evident that I have excused myself from the dinner table to go upstairs and cry.

Our therapists, who came to our house for the last time on Friday, have told me that Ryan's skills are so high and so hopeful. They have reassured me that it is unusual for a child on the spectrum to have so many typical skills. They have consoled me and told us what a good job we have done for him so far. They have shared with me that he is one of the smartest children that they have ever come across. That his photographic memory will help him learn so quickly.

He learns skills in a day and generalizes them within a week, which is often a several month process for other kids.


We are at the bottom of the rabbit hole looking up. With this next transition, we have further to fall before we can start to climb our way out. I am hoping that there is, somewhere, a way out.

I have put all of my expectations on hold to wait. The horrible, miserable waiting. I don't want to wish his life away. But I want to fast forward to the ending. To know how this turns out. To feel that it will be okay. This will be okay. Instead I sit holding my breath. Waiting. Holding.

I am thankful for the starting point he has been given, I just wish I could give him more. Actually, I wish I could just make this go away. Or take it myself. I would gladly take it myself. Every day it kills me that I can't fix this. I can only hope and wait.

And, in the meantime, I can love him.

hip hip hooray! tis a 'little string of happy' giveaway ...


sometime around the october mark, last year, i picked up my rusty dusty knitting sticks and started beavering away on little rectangles. about the same time, the lovely Caroline from 91 Magazine ( a peachy online magazine totally free!) got in touch telling me they were working on a special crafty issue to come out in the new year. well one thing led to another and she kindly invited me to be involved. 
i looked at my little knitty rectangles, they looked at me and the rest was yarny history...

whilst i worked upon my 'little string of yarny goodness' to be included in the crafty issue of 91 Magazine, i was reminded once again just how marvelous little strings can be for not only cheering up a little corner of our nests but also our little crafty hearts. they can take some time to make, or they can take very little time at all. they can be made of so many different materials and the possibility is endless of the results. and so my little cogs only went and turned and that turning process led to a most marvelous idea... well i thought it was, and i thought, well why not Tif, why not indeedy!

i have decided this is the perfect year to start '12 marvelous strings of happy for 12 marvelous months'. whereupon each and every month i will show a recipe for a 'little string of happy' here on my blog so others may make some too if they wish (many of which will be perfectly suited to small beings and little critters) and after which i will give away the 'little string of happy' i made.

and so January's 'little string of happy' and how to make it, can be found within the covers of 91 Magazine on page 24 and also on the front cover, which i must confess i was tres happy to see. you will find all the nitty gritty on how to make the little string or set you up for making your own version. (ummm, didn't you just say that Tif?) moving on... you will also find an awful lot more marvelous crafty goodness from some marvelous crafty souls. truly this magazine is one to keep close by to get through the long winter months.

now it has been like forever and a day, many many moons, too many to count, a century has come and gone, donkeys years, since i had a giveaway on my blog. i fear my rusty dusty blog giveaway skills may just let me down, but i must tread, where i am fearful to tread and trust my little blog will not let me down. so here is the nitty gritty, if you wish to win the 'little string of yarny goodness' found within the pages of 91 Magazine. 

january's string of happy, no less

* leave a comment here telling me what you do in January to make you happy, with your name and email address or some way for me to get hold of you 
(moderation is on so do not fret if it does not appear straight away, i will check in every day and publish the comments)

* please only one entry per dearie

* this is open to anyone anywhere around the globe

* this giveaway will close on sunday 6pm pacific time. after which i will pick a winner randomly and announce the dearie next monday 27th january

i do believe that is it. my only minor fretting is, i have had comments switched off for so long, i am hopeful they will work for this. if not then i am sure i will get wind of it soon and go in and do a bit of twiddling behind the scenes along with a bit of muttering and then if all else fails, i will turn to my lads of three, have a little melt down and hope they can come to my rescue

righty ho, gosh, well, here we go then, the first month of  '12 marvelous months of 12 marvelous strings of happy' (nice switch of wording Tif)... eeeek! oh please please work Mr Blog

a new year resolution slowly taking shape ...

Mister Muchly is terribly good at taking things slow especially where the telly is involved...

since getting back from our jolly trip to old blighty i have been a little slow to get into the swing of things. it has been nearly 2 weeks since our return and i can honestly say all i have managed is to sit a lot and crochet, keep critters and clan alive and go to work in the yarn store. oh and i did clear away the jolly tree and make a 'little book shelf of my own' so really i shouldn't be too quick to judge my slow ways of late.

my next read is way off my usual reading path

whilst on the road, i was filled with "oh and i will do that and then i will do this upon my return", but the fresh shiny new year energies left me the moment we returned to mossy shed. it is like the cogs are willing but the old bod just ain't. so instead of fretting, i am letting my bod have a bit of time off and just going with the flow and as we take our time together, i will continue to let the old cogs whirl. for whirl they must, for there is much i wish to see and do in 2014.

old door curtain from Gladys is hanging around here for a while

i did make a new year resolution, 
i planned it way before the new year, and then when my dottie angel book went out of print, i knew someone up above was telling me, now was the time and so i took down my little notebook hence where i had stashed it and looked at the scribbled notes hastily taken in less than a few hours, one moment in the middle of last year. the cogs had turned, an epiphany had appeared and if i did not get it onto paper and store it for the right time to come along, then all would be lost in the black hole in my bonce... the scribbled notes of a 'book in the making'. 

Mister Muchly is also addicted to playing Animal Crossing. a friendship made in heaven.

and thus, the one thing i hope to start, would love to see finished, (however this time around i am not putting deadlines on myself, for deadlines cause fretting, and frettings cause anxiety, and anxieties cause unwellness, and unwellnesses is a whole path i just do not need to go down again) is a book. a book which i think has been inside of me for quite the while, a book i think would be worthy of taking my time over, to see where it may go and just how it will grow. but first, well first, i am thinking i may just dip my old toes in the old book waters again with a little picture book. yes that is what i will do, the perfectly perfect thing to do, is surely upon all surelies, to slowly but 'oh so happily' make a little peachy picture book...

"really!? do you think Tif will? if so, do you think we will be in it? and more to the point, i heard her saying she was going to have a give away on her blog on monday and well, you could have knocked me down with a feather."

a labour of...

 is exactly what my Closing Fan Shawl has become. i am not saying it in a way where it has been a long old labour and i am ready for it to be done. no sirree! quite the opposite in fact. yes it has been a labour, i care not to count any longer the hours nor the rip backs involved, for all i care to note is how stitch by stitch it is turning into quite possibly the most beautiful yarny creation my hands have ever made.

i have plans for my little shawl once all the fans (diamonds are complete), no single crochet edge will do for my little shawl, nope... i am plotting and planning an edging of the utmost kind so when all is said and done and the last stitch is complete i can truly say, hand on crafty heart this little yarny wonder goes way way up there alongside the day i completed my first granny square cushion.

which i would link to but cannot, because for the life of me i cannot find the link amongst all the vast amount of ramblings that has gone on over the years on this here shiny spot. thus i will just relay the gist of things in a nutshell. ummm, Tif can you do nutshells?

nutshell commence:
 "i could not crochet. i learnt to crochet. it took a long old hard slog to do so but oh so worth it. then i made a granny square. then i made another. i made them from old vintage yarn. after which i crocheted them together and made them into a cushion. i put the cushion on our couch. i stepped back. tears came to my eyes. tears came to my man's eyes. we both agreed we had never seen such a thing in our lives. me a glorious thing. him... a thing."

and so i feel, years on, this shawl when all said and crocheted, (ummm, repeating one's self Tif?! could be a senior moment, or perhaps not because you caught yourself doing it, thus you are saved for another day) will be another moment in my handcrafted journey when i take time to stop still and truly honestly be thankful for the creativity my hands allow me to conjure up, each and every day. something i do not do often enough... counting my crafty blessings and my crafty hands.

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