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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Little Green Boxes and 3 Tips for Organizing the Kitchen

Well, I am getting off to a slow start this year with the blog, but maybe I'm striving for crochet perfection (or at least correct and useful information) too much!  So, in the mean time, I'm posting about my New Year's Cleaning (rather than Spring Cleaning) in the hopes that it will be helpful to you.  And, by getting organized and decluttered, I'm hoping my creativity will get a boost as well.

The kitchen is the first room I've been tackling.  I got out my labeler and got all of the half-opened bags and containers of dried goods out of the pantry and into properly sealing containers with labels.  I didn't also add the date on the containers, but that's probably a good idea going forward (hopefully I'll use up stuff fast enough to not have to worry about this, but I think on the next go around, I will add dates so that I'll know how quickly or slowly I'm using up products).

Then I started in on the refrigerator after having read this helpful post by Nealey Stapleton of the Organizing Boutique.  Since I was headed to Bed, Bath, and Beyond anyway for a new shower curtain and toilet seat (the bathroom is next!), I added a 12-inch turntable/Lazy Susan to my list and put it in the fridge to organize all the small jars of pickles, mustard, etc.  I think it's really going to help in avoiding jars of half-used stuff getting shoved to the back of the refrigerator and being left to die.

And, even though I stuck to my list while at BBandB, I did make an impulse purchase of Debbie Meyer's 32-piece UltraLite Green Boxes to preserve fruits, vegetables and baked goods (hey, I had some 20% coupons, so not so bad :-)



We've been trying to eat more healthfully but, if I try to shop for the whole week, by the end of the week, some of the organic produce is looking a little sad...  I'm hoping, based on the great reviews given these boxes, they will help extend the life of our fruits and veggies!

So, in summary:

1)  Get everything labeled and dated -- it will help you keep track of what ingredients and pantry items you have and don't have, how fresh it is, etc.
2)  Keep the refrigerator clean by using a few containers and turntables to help group like items and keep them organized and accessible.
3)  Allow yourself to get distracted by little green boxes if it will help motivate you and help you feel better about starting off 2015 the way you want!

(Disclosure:  We are an Amazon Affiliate and the above-provided link is an affiliate link.  The boxes were $19.99 at BBandB, before the 20% off.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Welcome 2015!

Go figure that the first half of my last post of 2014 didn't publish...

But we are not looking back, here's to a New Year and a clean slate :-)

So, what do I aspire to accomplish this year?

1)  Blog posts twice a week

One of my action items for this year is to get back onto a blogging schedule of two posts a week (I had been doing that a while back...).  Once a week (probably Tuesdays), I plan on focusing on basic crochet techniques and building to more advanced ones through the year.  What will be different about my posts?  My aim is to "curate" the technique, meaning that I will try to find, in my opinion, the best sources out there on the chosen technique and present them to you all in one place.  There are A LOT of crochet blogs out there now, and I've come across some really good ones.  I want to give credit where it's due and not reinvent the wheel unless I can't find what I think is a definitive, clear presentation of the technique.

The second post each week (probably Fridays), I plan on sharing something along the lines of "learn, make and grow through crochet" by returning to a fundamental objective that I had when I first started this blog -- experiencing crochet in a holistic way through the mind, the body and the spirit.  Recently I was explaining to a non-crocheter that crochet is a lifestyle enhancer in so many ways.  And it conjures up many images doesn't it?  A basket of yarn nestled next to a crocheter, who is stretched out in a favorite sitting area, perhaps with a steaming (or cold) beverage at the ready, working away on a project that is most likely a gift or donation for someone special.  I want to explore how crocheters live "the crochet lifestyle" and the different ways that lifestyle manifests itself.

2)  More communications and interactions

I admit that I am a "stalker" on Facebook and share others' posts without really putting myself out there.  This year I plan on exploring different ways to interact and communicate with crocheters who are seeking the same thing.  Frankly, I'm not sure that Facebook is the best venue for accomplishing this goal, so I'll be exploring different platforms that might work better.

3)  More follow through

You all know that I have the best of intentions, but let's face it, I don't always follow through as I should or in a timely manner.  So, my third goal this coming year is to finish what I start and (try) not get distracted by (too many) bright, shiny objects!

So, once again, I am trying to lay out my plans and aspirations for the upcoming year and hold myself accountable for achieving them (or at least moving closer to achieving them).  I look forward to this journey and hope that you all will join me for the ride :-)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Alas...

Well, all I can do is try, try again next year!  I'm also going to take this opportunity to talk about some things that did go well.  First and foremost, I've really been enjoying making and building friendships on Facebook.  Please come "friend" me and visit/like the Many Creative Gifts page!  I've gotten to see some really beautifully made crochet and knit items on Facebook that I've shared and read some well done blog posts.  It's been educational and inspiring and given me some ideas about how I want to revamp my blog next year.

I've also had another pattern, the ZigZag Book Bag, published in Inside Crochet magazine.  That was a fun project that involved working with a bobbled chevron pattern and thicker yarns and hook.  Inside Crochet is offering a free download of the issue, so please enjoy!  I will post the pattern in my Ravelry store as soon as I translate it into American ;-).

I also did my first Holiday Bazaar!  It was really interesting to see what drew interest and what was overlooked... 



So, at this point, I wish you a very wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year!  As we usher in 2015, I hope you will continue to subscribe to my blog and enjoy what I'm able to offer.  I truly believe that next year will be better than the one coming to a close, and I hope we go on this adventure together!  As I always say, stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Handmade Gifts

As we get into the holiday season (yup, the trees and ornaments, etc., are already in the stores!), I'm sure a lot of us are plotting out our gift projects.  I found this beautiful crochet Leaflines Shawlette  that I want to make for a special friend who's going through a lot these days...  Of course, I still haven't finished any of the other projects underway in this #yearofmaking, but I just can't help it :-)

But, this time of year always gets me to thinking about whether my handmade gifts are the way to go.  I always read Carolyn Hax in the Washington Post because I believe she assesses situations very well and gives sound advice.  So, I was really happy to see the column she recently wrote on why Handmade Gifts Trump Mass-Produced Stuff.  I say with good projects and good friends, handmade is the way to go!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Torn

No, nothing literally thankfully -- I mean that I am having a hard time deciding what project(s) to do next.  Of course, that doesn't mean that I've actually finished the ones underway now!  Mom's sweater is underway, and I'm at the point where I need to separate the arms from the body (knitting the sweater in raglan from top down).  That means more needles or cables, or something to get the arms set aside, so I'm on hold there.  My sweater top is coming along, but I am at the shaping the neck and shoulders part, which for me is going slowly...

In the mean time, my wonderful friend Charlene got me some more Japanese crochet books at the Japanese bookstore in NYC!  One of them especially has some beautiful wraps and tops that looks pretty easy to make...  You know where I'm going with this ;-)

Also, I designed what I think turned out to be a pretty little "Spicy Shawlette" from a beautiful lace-weight yarn that unfortunately has been discontinued, so I need to rework it in a new yarn before posting:





Of course I've got millions of other ideas too about my next project(s), what to do?!




Thursday, October 2, 2014

Crafty Bastards 2014


Last weekend, the Crafty Bastards arts and crafts fair was held at Union Market in Washington DC.  The Washington City Paper has been putting it on for 11 years now, which is hard to believe because I remember going to the first one!  I went on Saturday, which was just such a gorgeous day here in DC.  The metro took me within blocks of this newly developed area of town. 

So many incredibly talented artists and offerings.  It was great to run into Laurie of Feel Good Yarn Co.  She's a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made contest, and I hope you will go vote for her!  I'm kicking myself because she had the indigo-dyed SilverSpun yarn with her at the fair (that was created by Kismet Fiber Works), and I didn't buy it on the spot; now, it's sold out :-(  But, she promises more colors will be coming later in the season.

The other wonderful surprise was seeing a former student with a booth!  Emily has created Penny&Paul and is selling her funky and fun crocheted hats! Cutest little baby shoes too...



It was so much fun walking around and seeing all the amazingly creative products, very inspirational.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Project 3 is Underway!

Ok, so I think I said that Mom's sweater would be number 3, but go figure, I ordered the yarn for it (because of course I didn't have the right color already, so we're not even counting it as part of the year in making :-) and it's been delayed in shipment.  So, I got to thinking about what the next project(s) should be as I await books and yarn...

And this new book on crochet toys popped up in my email from Cooperative Press!



Fresh Designs Crochet: Toys

And look at that cute sheep on the cover!  You know I had to order it, especially since I've been trying to figure out what to do with some of Princess and Petunia's yarn.  The other toys in this 10-project booklet are pretty cool too, so I have the feeling I know what some holiday gifts are going to be!