Something blue: beaded crochet iPhone case

I made this crocheted iPhone case with size 10 DMC Cebelia thread and assorted blue glass beads size 6/10. Crochet hook size 1.75mm.

4 ways to get organized and clear your mind

It’s spring, and even though it’s raining in Castlegar, I’m still excited about all the new ideas for 2013. Is your craft room a mess? Have you been putting off new projects? Here are four ideas for you to get a fresh start with your crafting without the stress.

Clear the Clutter

With two kids, school, work, and hobbies, my family is constantly fighting clutter. My goal is to not to bring in new supplies into a cluttered, messy craft room. I know, it’s hard to keep things organized, especially with crafting. At least it is for me! Get some boxes or a bookshelf and organize your supplies by type and by colour. This could be as simple as having a labelled bin for each of your stamps, inks, pens, punches, dies, paper, and embellishments. You don’t have to go all Martha Stewart, but it helps. (Martha’s a genius and I wish I could be half as good!)

This video from ChicnScratch gives excellent tips on how to organize your desk.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6Z0uoxz1fw

Make a List

You probably have a whole list of to-do’s and half-finished projects floating around in your head. (Or maybe you don’t, maybe that’s just me.) Stop wasting your brain power trying to remember everything. Do a “brain dump” and write all those things down on a list. Pick the top three and save the rest for another day. Try the Epic Day This-n-That bundle from Stampin’ Up! – it’s a fully customizable, colourful journal for notebook-lovers. Or, try the Up to Date Planner digital kit if you prefer to type out a list.

One Thing at a Time

It’s way more effective to work on just one thing at a time. Turn off your iPad and focus on the scrapbook page in front of you. Or load the dishwasher without watching television. If you’re a mom focusing on just one thing will be difficult – try it anyway, maybe after the kids go to bed. Tune out the world by putting on your headphones and cranking up the music while you work. File away all the other projects so you can work on a clean desk. Multi-tasking is not worth the stress.

Sketch it Out

My absolute must-have is the big pad of grid paper from Stampin’ Up! I use it to sketch out craft projects, test colour combos, and even for analyzing data and outlining reports and flowcharts for work. Being able to see how everything fits together makes a project clear and easy to tackle. It also helps you to organize your approach for big, multi-step projects.

Happy spring, and happy crafting!

Winter Sheep

This guy stood still and let me photograph him from the truck.
This guy stood still and let me photograph him from the truck.

This is a common sight on the road to our place, but I never get tired of stopping for the sheep. Sometimes there will be a couple of males butting heads – wow! These photos were taken in Syringa Creek Provincial Park in BC. City folks might be surprised at the size of these creatures: an adult male sheep standing next to my SUV can look me in the eye almost level. You must not get out of the vehicle for a closer look, even though they seem tame.

 

Copyright 2013 Blueberry Creek Crafts, All rights reserved
In Syringa Park, BC

 

Copyright 2013 G Higgins. All rights reserved.
in Syringa Park, BC

IMG_1897 IMG_1894

Holiday Gifts for Geeks

“Black Friday” is nearly upon us, again, followed by the so-called “Cyber Monday”. It’s the height of the holiday shopping season.  Why bother with run-of-the-mill gifts this year when there are so many fabulous gifts for geeks out there?  Get something memorable! Here are a few ideas to get you started. Plus, you can avoid the malls by shopping online.
The Geekery Category on Etsy.com is chock-full of, well, geeky gifts, such as:
Chemistry-Themed Crayon Labels
Art meets science in these labels. For your children, or for yourself.
Chemistry Crayon CLEAR Labels - set of 96
Caffeine-Molecule Upcycled Coffee Mugs
Face it, most of us rely on the ubiquitous caffeine molecule every day.  Let people know just how much their lives are impacted by chemistry by showcasing this mug at the office.
Nerdy Baby ABC’s and 123’s Flash Cards
Give your baby (or a friend’s baby) a head start in life with these flash cards, designed by a chemical engineer for her kids. I bought some for my children and for some friends.
Nerdy Baby ABCs and 123s... wooooo GET BOTH
Snorg Tees Geek-Nerd Section
There’s a tee for every nerd at the Snorg Tees shop. Some feature inside jokes that only the initiated will understand. You dig?
My personal favourite, pi versus the imaginary numbers: http://www.snorgtees.com/t-shirts/pi-be-rational
Pi Be Rational
The Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine
Specially-formatted paper is designed so you can photograph the pages and convert them directly to pages in your Evernote notebooks. Fabulous!
Happy shopping!

Holiday Gift Ideas: Five Crochet Resources

one of my thread crochet projects

 

I used to love that French crochet magazine Magic Crochet, which is no longer in print. Jam-packed with designs for doilies and table runners made in thread, with both graphic and written instructions, it featured many lovely and challenging patterns. Now, when shopping for crochet magazines at the newsstand, I’m often disappointed by the usual selection. It’s wonderful that crochet has experienced a revival, but we in North America have been taken back through all the beginner stuff in the past few years. Fortunately the market is maturing a bit and there is a rich treasure trove of inspiration to be found online from North America and beyond. Here are a few of my favourites:

  1. Crochet Me, an online magazine by Interweave. Interweave Crochet is an excellent publication. Yes, it’s American, but it is far and away above the average magazines.This site has downloadable patterns and e-books, videos and techniques, a gallery of members’ work, and articles by the editors. I enjoyed this post on Crocheted Gifts which encourages us to think beyond hats and scarves. Although beginners are welcomed with plenty of how-to guides, Interweave is also an excellent resource for intermediate and advanced crafters, and their patterns are anything but ordinary. Essays on the history of crochet are frequently published in these issues. http://www.crochetme.com/blogs/crochet_daily/archive/2012/10/04/beyond-hats-crochet-gift-ideas.aspx
  2. Duplet Magazine and Zhurnal MOD – these are Russion publications with distinctive use of traditional Irish modular crochet patterns. If you thought crochet thread was only for doilies, you must look at this. The magazines only have graphic patterns for the motifs, not full instructions for the garments shown. The text is in Russian but the graphic patterns transcend language and you will love the beautiful outfits. They have everything from bikinis to wedding dresses. If you like to crochet with thread, you will love this magazine. (Note: subscriptions are not available in Canada. I bought a few issues from Ebay.)
  3. Elann.com, for yarns, patterns, tools, and notions. Based in Canada, Elann sources excellent quality natural fibre yarns including alpaca, wool, and organic cotton. Check often for great deals on luxury yarns from famous name companies. They also have their own store brand with lovely yarns and exclusive patterns. I have always been happy with my orders from Elann. The delivery is quick and the service is excellent.
  4. Garnstudio Drops Design – this is a manufacturer’s website with a rich pattern library of both knit and crochet. Their patterns feature trendy European designs for adults and children.
  5. Vogue Knitting – long one of my favourites (for knitting, sewing, and crochet), Vogue has published a number of excellent crochet patterns, and recently published an entire issue devoted to crochet. This is high-fashion, wearable stuff. My mother owned a copy of the Vogue Sewing book, which I read cover to cover (still have to learn to sew, though!). I own the Vogue Knitting book, which is an authoritative guide to design and finishing techniques, many of which can be translated for crochet. Their online crochet site also contains a section of fine finishing techniques for crocheted garments.

What are your favourites? Do you love or loathe the Granny Square? What projects do you have on the go?

Happy crafting,

G.

Chicken and Lobster Mushroom Alfredo

A colleague recently brought me some lobster mushrooms (thank you C.J., you rock). My husband was skeptical but he whipped up a batch of chicken and lobster mushroom alfredo with linguine. Even the kids ate it, and they’re picky.

Lobster mushrooms grow wild where we live, and I didn’t know about it until last week! Wow, do I live a sheltered life or what. In future I will be looking for them.