Thursday, May 22, 2008

Yikes! I've been a bad blogger!

Good morning to everyone! I'm sorry I've been absent for a week and half! Life got busy and I was struggling to keep up. Since my last post, I've taught a bellydance class, made and lost the Virtue bookmark I promised to post pics of, made all the earrings that are now listed in my brand-new Etsy shop (see the link to the right, and let me know what you think!), found out my Dad was in a serious car accident (as a passenger, and thank the Gods, he's ok), taken my oldest son to Six Flags for the first time (again, thank the Gods, he's ok! LOL), gone to another bellydance class, gone on a field trip, met with promoters for a cultural festival my troupe is dancing in next month, and attempted to take care of my home and family! Wow, even I didn't realize how busy I've been until I started typing that out!

Anywho, a couple of announcements: Yep, I opened an Etsy shop to house some of my original creations in all the catergories of craft that I love. Please, if you get a chance and have the inclination, follow the link to the right and let me know what you think. Check back often as you never know what I'm going to put in there! Frankly, I don't know, either, so let's enjoy this adventure together! :) I am very excited, though, that I got my first custom order already! Yay!!

Second, I've been participating in the RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) group on Ravelry and I'm really enjoying it! People post wish lists and if someone has what they are looking for and feels moved, they can send the gifts along. I've sent out three so far, I'm sending out another today or tomorrow, and I'm hoping to send another soon. I love giving gifts, especially ones that I know will be appreciated or make someone smile, so this group is perfect for me. Plus, I get to be friendly with folks from around the world! I'm sending out something to Belgium! How cool is that? To think that I get to make someone smile and maybe feel good even for a moment just fills me up. :)

On that note, I've decided to participate in the Pay it Forward movement. To that end, I will send a handmade gift to the first three people who comment on this blog. Nothing is required of you but to leave your name, email address, color preferences and a little info about you (include allergies and your gender, please! I'd hate to send someone frilly, girly earrings only to find they are a big strapping man :)), and the agreement to post on your blog or online forums making this offer to others. This is all about just being nice to someone else, knowing there is nothing in return but that great feeling you get sending something to someone just because you want to be kind. If we could get every blogger to do this just once, what a lovely world it would be!

Ok, that's all for now. I know there are a million more things I wanted to write about, but I just can't think of anything else at the moment. I'm sure it'll come to me soon, though, and I'll have another post for you.

Hope you are doing well and are ready for the holiday weekend!



Monday, May 12, 2008

Virtue: A Cabled Bookmark

Hey there! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I had a wonderful Mother's Day and I got some knitting/crocheting done, too! Rock! More on that tomorrow...

I want to share the bookmark design (my first design ever) that I mentioned in a previous post. It was being featured in the Monthly Bookmark Knit-Along Yahoo! group, and I didn't want to give it away before everyone there got first dibs t it. :) A million thanks to Briley for allowing such a new designer to offer her design, then testing it and actually using it for the group. That boosted my confidence more than you know!

I called this bookmark Virtue because I made about three of them as gifts before I ever wrote it down, just keeping the pattern in my head. So, I had to be very disciplined with counting stitches and rows. You can also make it's cousin, Vice, by merely removing the cables. So much easier!

Here is the pattern!

Virtue Bookmark

(I'll get a picture of Vice up soon, too.)

This pattern is a great introduction to cabling. While it looks pretty impressive, and the cables are big and obvious, there are only six cabling rows in the entire piece. Such is the power of cabling! It just goes to show that one simple technique can really revolutionize a piece.


Crochet thread, size 3 (or something similar)

Size 3 needles

Cable needle


Special stitch:
Cable 6 in front: slip three onto the cable needle, hold in front, purl 3, and purl 3 from cable needle.


Cast on 18

Rows 1-3 (and every even row throughout) knit across.

Row 5 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 7 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 9 k3, p2, k1, cable 6 in front, k1, p2, k3

Row 11 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 13 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 15 k3, p2, k1, cable 6 in front, k1, p2, k3

Row 17 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 19 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 21 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 23 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 25 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 27 k3, p2, k1, cable 6 in front, k1, p2, k3

Row 29 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 31 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 33 k3, p2, k1, cable 6 in front, k1, p2, k3

Row 35 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 37 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 39 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 41 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 43 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 45 k3, p2, k1, cable 6 in front, k1, p2, k3

Row 47 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 49 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 51 k3, p2, k1, cable 6 in front, k1, p2, k3

Row 53 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 55 k3, p2, k1, p6, k1, p2, k3

Row 57-59 knit across


Please feel free to use this pattern for your own personal use and link others to this pattern. I also give permission to use this pattern to make items to sell at school craft fairs, church bizarres, or other non-profit charitable fundraisers. Please do not sell this pattern or reproduce it for distribution without my express permission.

Because she did such a great job, I asked Jody, a member of the KAL, if I could use a picture of her bookmark in my blog to show how she worked it up. Please note, she cabled to the back and she used sport weight yarn. I just wanted to show you that you don't have to follow my, or anyone else's, directions exactly. You can make something beautiful when you break the "rules!" I want to thank all the members of the KAL for trying my little pattern. Thanks!!

My very creative Mom suggested after receiving the first Virtue I ever made, that it would make a great headband if it were longer and attached to some wide elastic. Great idea, Mom!! To do that, repeat rows 15 through 26 one more time before moving on to rows 27 to the end. Block it, back it if you need to with fabric, sew some elastic on, and you have a cute headband.

I hope you enjoy it!



Saturday, May 10, 2008

World Bellydance Day and new fiber books!

First of all, Happy World Bellydance Day, everyone! If you are a dancer, get out there and dance a little today in celebration. Or watch a new video, read a new book, try a new prop or move, sew a little on your next costume, tell someone why you love bellydance or educate someone as to what bellydance REALLY is. Find a way to celebrate your life as a dancer!

If you're not a dancer, please take a moment to learn more about this beautiful artform that is as dynamic and revolutionary as it has ever been. ( or are all good places to start) I'll bet you will be surprised at how popular, enriching, and empowering this dance form is for so many people (men and women) around the world. And, more importantly, it is more family-friendly than many people expect. Give it a chance! C'mon, do it for me. :)

Second, I went to Borders yesterday to just look at a book: Creepy Cute Crochet. Now, mind you, I just wanted to LOOK! I've become fascinated with Amigurumi, and this book is right up my alley with it's really cute designs featuring Cthulhu, a Day of the Dead couple, zombies, ninjas, even a monkey and an Amazon! There are lots of designs in here, all in the Amigurmi style, with instructions on how to accessorize them as well as construct them. Well, I ended up buying it and saving my husband and sons the trouble of finding me a Mother's Day gift. :) I haven't attempted a project yet as I'm working on gifts for others, but I will soon and I will post a review once I have. I can't wait to give it a shot! I've even got a few ideas of my own for little characters and I can't wait to get a basic template under my belt for embellishment.

My friend Mari was with me while I was perusing the fiber arts section. She is graduating with her Master's degree today (congrats, girl!!) so she hasn't had a huge amount of time to dedicate to anything outside of school, work, and family except the troupe we direct together, Alchemy. However, she's been following my adventures in yarn and wants to learn for herself once everything settles down. Honestly, at first, I thought she was just being polite to me! lol Yesterday, though, I found out she is serious as she bought two books while we were at Borders: Get Your Crochet On! Fly Tops and Funky Flavas and Folk Style: Innovative Designs to Knit, Including Sweaters, Hats, Scarves, Gloves and More. She sent them home with me to look over and try out while she finishes up her grad school stuff and get settled back into the normal routine. Now, she may have just been cleverly trying to give me a gift (she did give me my first knitting book ever: Domiknitrix: Whip Your Knitting into Shape, which I LOVE!), but I'm inclined to believe, as she fawned over the designs and thought of ways to use them in her life, that she really does want to learn and is excited to start. I'm thrilled! I don't really have anyone to knit or crochet with and I haven't been motivated to go to any of the local fiber circles yet even though I desperately need someone with more experience to show me some basic techniques. With Mari at my side, though, I'll be more inclined to go. Maybe I'll go get her a set of needles and a hook later today. In the meantime, I made her a little gift for graduation that should whet her appetite for more fibery goodness: Mari's Earrings.

I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend already, and that it just gets better from here.


Friday, May 9, 2008

Mother's Day (all sap!)

I know alot of folks dislike Mother's Day for personal reasons, and I'm not here to change anyone's mind. I'm just here to say I love Mother's Day. And Father's Day... and birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, Wednesdays, or any other excuse I have to give someone I love a heartfelt gift!

Mother's Day means alot to me because I am lucky enough to have one of the best mother's in the world: Bernice Bachman. She is everything I strive to be in a Mom: patient, loving (I never had or will ever have a single doubt that I am loved, unconditionally), forgiving, playful, sympathetic, smart, she gives good advice and listens better than anyone I know. She's a great grandmother to my two boys (who ADORE her!). Although my parents live ten hours away from me, I feel their presence strongly every day because Mom and I talk alot on the phone. We keep each other going sometimes. She really is fantastic and I hope she knows how much she means to me.

Sadly, all of my grandparents are now gone, but I had two completely different yet amazing grandmothers who were both strong, opinionated, powerful women who raised large families practically single-handedly. They were both tiny, and so sweet, but they didn't take no guff from anyone, least of all their towering sons. It was always funny to see one of my big, strong uncles cowering in front of one of these little ladies. They helped shape me into the woman I am: independent and convinced of my own worth. I miss them, and I'm glad I was able to know them as well as I did.

Married life has given me the chance to adopt some surrogate women in my life: two grandmothers, a mother, and a sister. My husband's family is wonderful, and I know how often in-laws are a dreaded part of married life. Not so for me. I'm happy to spend time with my family: we go shopping, hang out, have holiday celebrations, you name it. They are truly a part of my family, not just my husband's family. My mother-in-law, Laura, is always there for me. She's funny, smart, and one of the kindest people I've known. She is truly a gentile Southern woman. Grandmother, my husband's paternal grandmother, is the strong, accomplished woman you think of as running a plantation or her own company. She gets what she wants, yet she is always more than generous to everyone. My husband's maternal grandmother, Nanny, lives about eight hours away from us, so I've only had the opportunity to meet her a few times. Each time was so good: she's sweet, soft-spoken and gentle. I hope to come to know her more. Amy is my husband's sister, and the closest I'll ever have to a sister of my own (I'm an only child). She and I are like peas in a pod: sometimes we get on each other's nerves, but we're always glad to know the other is there. She's a Mom, and though her style of parenting is very different from mine, she's really good at it and her son is a testament to the great job she is doing. Amy is so creative, fun, inspiring, and adventurous that she makes me feel daring; she sets me up to take risks and explore life knowing she's got my back.

Finally, there are two other people I cherish on Mother's day and they aren't mothers. In fact, they aren't even women! They are two little boys, and they bless me every single day with their presence and the most wonderful title in the world: Mom. Xavier and Corwin are the best things that have ever happened to me. They make me a better person, they make me want to be better, all day, every day. They show me joy, laughter, love, and grace in every moment. Don't get me wrong, they are still rambuncious boys and sometimes things are rocky (or at least loud!) around here, but I wouldn't trade my hardest day with the for the best day without them. They are the loves of my life.

Ok, all the mushy stuff being said, I'm working on Mother's Day gifts. I adore making gifts for people. However, I don't adore the nervous feeling I get before I give it to them. I already sent my Mom's gifts off and I hope they get there in time for Mother's Day (I hate that she and I don't get to be together). I know my Mom will love anything I make her because she loves me and by extension anything that comes from me. I get more worried when it comes to my husband's family. What if they hate it? What if it seems hokey or silly? What if they don't get it or appreciate the hard work I put into it? What if they are polite to my face, and then it never sees the light of day again? ::sigh:: I go through this every gift-giving occassion. BUT! I keep trying, keep making, keep giving, and so far, so good. :) Now, I gotta get to work on these gifts!

Happy Mother's Day, to everyone, everywhere! Take the time to care for someone today and everyday, especially yourself. You don't have to be someone's Mom to be their hero, their security blanket, their friend. :)


Thursday, May 8, 2008


(They are also on Ravelry, so come and join us!:

Yep, that's me! The folks at the Crochet Liberation Front have given me an award for my Crocheted Kuchi Earrings! I am overwhelmed, so much so that when I got the message, it brought tears to my eyes. :) Yay for sending your "babies" out into the world and folks liking them. Yay for happy tears. Yay for picot and awards!

Thank you CLF! You've made me so happy and proud!

Are you addicted to lip balm? I am!

And, I'm addicted to making these cute little crocheted lip balm holders! Seriously, ever since I saw these beauties on Ravelry: I was determined to come up with my own design. And, since then, I've made six of the plain, and I just finished the flower. I'm so happy with how they've turned out and how fun they are to make, I thought I'd share the pattern with you! So, I proudly present:
Crocheted Lip Balm Holder

If you love lip balm like I do (my current obsession is Burt's Bees with Peppermint Oil... Yay!), you keep it everywhere: in your purse, on your desk, in both bathrooms, next to your bed, a few more in your purse. You never want to be without some instant moisture for your lips. The only place I can't keep it is in the car as I live in the South and already it's so hot that lip balm will melt in my pocket on the way to the car, let alone in the console! So, something I could attach to my keychain is just what the dermatologist ordered! Also great for attaching to a back pack, gym bag, water bottle holder, just about anywhere you need a little lip-aid. You could even lengthen the tube and use it for those purse-sized hand sanitizers: As always, I encourage you to experiment: use beads or other embellishments, use a crazy yarn, make it bigger or smaller to fit what you need, make it in camo colors for your little boy, make ten and have glove-less fingers instead of fingerless gloves! :D I'm thinking of using this for finger puppets, too.


See the following link for the yarn I used. I love their yarns!

4-ply Worsted Weight cotton yarn in your choice of colors. The plain holder looks great in ombres. For the examples pictured, I used 95 Red for the plain holder, and 51 Apple Green (color A) and 165 Daisy Ombre (color B) for the flower design.

Boye crochet hook USG 6/4.00MM


A keyring, lanyard clip, or other findings for attaching your holder to your keys.

sl st-slip stitch
dc-double crochet
sc-single crochet

Base row: Ch 4, join with sl st in the first ch to form a ring. for the flowered version, this is done in color A.

2nd row: Sc nine times into the ring, join last st to the first with sl st. I usually pull the tail of thread through the center at this point and trim so it lays on the inside.

3rd row: Sc in the back loop of each st. At this point, you will not join the last to the first st, but just keep spiraling around. Be sure to crochet into the back loop if you want it to look like mine; this places the ridges on the inside and provides grip. Otherwise, have fun with it! Crochet until the length of the tube is about 2 and 3/4 inches long, or it fits the tube you are trying to carry.

Now you can decide which version you want: plain or the flowered.

Plain: all that's left is to finish. When the tube has reached the desired length, ch 5, sc into the next st in the body, then sl st in the next st and fasten off. Weave in the ends and attach the key ring or clip you choose to the five ch sts. Good job! You did it! Add your favorite lip balm and off you go!

Flowered: When the tube has reached the desired length, ch 5, sc into the next st on the body, then join color B and sc in each st around once. Now you are going to form the petals: ch 6, dc in the 3rd st from the hook, then dc in the next 2 sts, sc in the last st. At this point you are back to the base of the chain, so use a sl st in the next st on the body to stablize the petal. Repeat 8 more times, for 9 petals. Fasten off, weave in ends, and attach the keyring to the five ch sts in color A. Viola! You now have a cute, silly, fun holder for your lip balm! I hope you love it!

Please feel free to use this pattern for your own personal use and link others to this pattern. I also give permission to use this pattern to make items to sell at school craft fairs (wouldn't they look great in YOUR school's colors?), church bizarres, or other non-profit charitable fundraisers. Please do not sell this pattern or reproduce it for distribution without my express permission.

I'm an Avon Representative, and I love giving their seasonal lip balms with gifts, and I'm looking forward to making some of these to go with them. I may even stitch the recipient's name on them, and use these as the gift tag! This would also be a fun party favor, shower giveaway, teacher's gift, or Secret Santa gift.

Have fun and enjoy it!

One little disclaimer before I go: I probably won't be writing here every day. Lately, I've been excited about learning new thigns and creating my own patterns. I'm sure it will taper off, so please don't be disappointed with me if I miss a few days here and there! :)


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Very excited!

The first fiber art pattern I ever came up with is being featured on the Monthly Bookmarks KAL! (Here's a link if you'd like to get in on this action: Once all the rows have been given out, I will post the pattern here and on Ravelry in it's entirety. I'm hoping to get a few of the KALers to post a few pics so I can use them here. :) It's so exciting to think that other people, all across the country, are out there right now using my pattern to create something! Wow!

Speaking of Ravelry, my ID there is pretywtch (, so if you'd like to add a new friend, please add me! Also, yesterday's pattern for the Crocheted Kuchi Earrings is on Ravelry, too. Either do a search for that title or check through my profile.

I'm also on

and myspace:

and Facebook:

When you are a bellydancer, networking is vital, so social networking sites are a girl's best friend. It an be such a great way to meet like-minded people, keep in touch with old friends and new, and be active in your extended family. Yeah, it can be weird and a pain in the butt sometimes, but I've always felt the good outweighed the bad, so all in all, I'm happy. :)

On the bellydance front, my troupe, Alchemy ( has two gigs tonight at the local VA hospitals to celebrate Nurse's Week! Donna, one of our members, is a nurse at the VA, as is Mari's (co-director with me) father, so we get to honor them and all their fellow nurses tonight with a little demonstration and a quick lesson. We are going all out Tribal in the costuming and have decided to do group improvisation during our performances.

I'm really proud of our improv: Our cueing system is getting more intuitive every time we dance, as we gain time together as a group, our dancing get tighter and tighter, making it look more like choreography than something we are making up as we go along and the music moves us. Many people can't even tell we are improving anymore, which is a HUGE compliment. We've started adding zills to our repertoire and will soon be ready to add them to our dancing. As always, our choreographies, music choices and unique costuming gets a lot of positive attention, and I'm really looking forward to what is coming up soon. We're working hard and I think folks are starting to notice. :)

Exciting stuff, lots of creating happening. This is the fun stuff, kids. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My first blog... and my first crochet pattern. Whew! It's a big day! ;)

Hello! Welcome to my blog. I started a blog to keep a listing of my original fiber art patterns. Then I realized that I'd probably use it for a lot more than that, so really, expect anything here. If it's important to me, I'm going to write about it at some point. I hope you will find it fun and sometimes enlightening.

To start off, here is a little pattern I worked up today while trying to design some crocheted earrings for bellydance. Please feel free to make these for yourself, link interested folks back to here or share this pattern. However, I will be making these to sell in my local bellydance community, so please don't sell this pattern, reproduce it without permission, or make these earrings to sell without my express permission. If you make these and love them, please tell me! Share a photo, especially if you use a crazy thread or add embellishments like beads. If you find an error, for the love of all the is holy, PLEASE let me know! I'd hate for folks to be confused or unhappy with the results because of a silly mistake I made. Also, please bear with me as I just learned to crochet last month.

Ok, here we go!

Crocheted Kuchi Earrings

I designed these earrings to look like the beautiful, heavy earrings of the Kuchis people in Afghanistan. Those earrings are made of pot metal with bits of glass embedded in them like mosaic. I wanted something substantial, but light, that I could make in any color or metallic finish. After searching for motifs on the Internet that might work, I decided to try my hand at designing something myself. This is the result.


Aunt Lydia's Fashion Crochet Thread, number 5, Natural/Pearl

Boye crochet hook: B/1-2.25MM


Two French hooks or other earring findings of your choice



sl st-slip stitch

dc-double crochet

sc-single crochet

Picot: ch3, sl st through 3rd stitch from the needle.

Base row: Ch 5 and join with sl st to form a ring.

2nd row: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), *dc into the ring and ch 1, repeat from * 6 times, dc (8 in all). Turn

3rd row: Ch 3, dc 2 times into every space across (15 in all).

4th row: *Ch3 to form a picot, sc in next stitch. Repeat from * across (13 picots in all). Fasten off and weave in ends.

Repeat for second earring. Attach to hook by slipping the center loop into the open ring of the hook. Viola and congrats! I hope you love them!