Monday, November 30, 2009

Help for a Fellow Designer

"Tammy Hildebrand,  has been a major force in the advancement of crochet as a leading needle-art form and fashion statement for more than a decade".  (A quote from Crochet! magazine).

She has been diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease. It's a dibilitating illness which requires expensive medical treatment and, unfortunately, it is not recognized by the medical industry as a whole. It is not covered by her medical insurance.  Kim Guzman, another fellow designer,  has put together a website to help raise money for Tammy's medical treatment. 

Crochet Guild of America members have donated various crochet related items ranging from signed books and patterns to sample garments and one of a kind pieces.  Everyone who donates to the cause will be entered into a drawing on December 20, 2009, for these items.  This one of a kind freeform necklace and brooch are my contribution to the drawing.  I would be greatful if you would consider donating.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Inspiration and a Photographer in the Making

I am in the midst of getting inspired for my next project.  You never know when inspiration will strike....The other day, my daughter was playing dress up in her room and styled this outfit herself.  When she sat down in front of her doll house, the colors all worked together so well, it was a perfect photo op!  Most of the time she doesn't like to have her picture taken, but that day was an exception as she was so proud of herself.  She has since taken over my new camera and has taken hundreds of photos.  It is great to see the world from her point of view!  
The colors and patterns in this photo have inspired me for my next project.  Something whimsical for sure!  

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Aslan Trends Design Contest 2009

I am so thrilled and am celebrating tonight!  I just received an email from Aslan Trends yarn company, regarding my contest entry.  I won second prize in the accessories category!  I am considering it quite a victory as it was billed as a "Knitting Challenge" and I won with a crocheted item.  Yeah for crochet!  I will receive a cash prize as well as some of their beautiful yarn.  They will be posting photos soon, but for now, here is a photo that I took before I sent it off.  I am planning to self-publish the pattern and offer it for sale, as soon as I get the shawl back.  I created this "Silhouette Shawl" using their 100% merino wool Del Cerro yarn.  It was really lovely to work with!

Here is a complete list of the winners, if you would like to see them.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Studio Sneek Peek

The Studio is coming together and it is so exciting!  I want to spend all my time there.  I was originally going to carpet the floor, but I fell in love with this parquet flooring.  I chose it because it looks modern and with all the different colors, it goes with any furniture I put on it.  I have furniture pieces that I want to use from my life before marriage.  Some of it is cherry, some pine and some walnut.  It all works when placed on this flooring!  Now, I just need to research how to clean it, to give it a bit of polish.   I am deciding where to hang my pictures and posters now. The "yarn man" will have a home very soon!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Celebration Cake!

I don't usually need an excuse to make a cake, but it was thrilling to see loads of lovely strawberries at the supermarket.  It is spring weather here in Kuwait,  and that means that we don't have to buy expensive strawberries from the USA.  I have been saving this recipe from Cooking Light Magazine and today was the perfect day to try it out.  It was a beautiful cake,  but not terribly exciting in the taste and texture department.  I was going to post the recipe, but I think there are better recipes out there....

I am celebrating today, because I just sent off the pattern and sample for a design that was accepted to be published in the new online magazine, Tension.  It will appear, along with one of my favorite recipes, in their "Lemon" themed Spring 2010 issue.  Their first mini issue is up now, and the winter "Cinnamon" issue is coming out soon.  This is the first design that I created after making the decision to pursue a career in crochet design.  I hope that it will be the first of many!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I love a good podcast!

It is rare that I have quiet time, but this morning I was lucky enough to listen to two podcasts while finishing up some design submissions.  The first, was the latest "Getting Loopy" with Mary Beth Temple.  She had Lily Chin on as her guest.  What an amazing woman!  She has written a new book:   "Lily Chin's Crochet Tips & Tricks: Shortcuts and Techniques Every Crocheter Should Know".   I think I must have this book for my library.  Then, I listened to "Yarn Thing" with Marly Bird.  It was the first of the season.  She didn't have a guest on, but she always has something interesting to talk about.  During the podcast, she mentioned her lineup of upcoming shows. There are some great guests on the list; Debbie Bliss, Nicky Epstein, Kristen Omdahl, Debbie Stoller, and Kathy Merrick, to name a few.  I always learn so much when I listen to a podcast and I find it less distracting than watching television.  The shows are archived so you can listen anytime you want.  I am looking forward to my next quiet morning to catch up on a few that are in the archives!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Working on my logo....

I have been working on my logo so I can make professional letterhead and a pattern layout template.  I am doing a line drawing first, and then I will work on a graphics tablet to add color.  I am hoping that it will come together this week as I have some samples to crochet.  Deciding on colors has been the most difficult aspect!  I think I am narrowing it down now after several mock ups.

I took a little break from drawing today to make chocolate chip cookies.  I think it was one of my best batches ever.  I altered the traditional Nestle Tollhouse recipe a little, based on some tips I read about.  I added a little more flour, a little less sugar, and melted the butter.  I especially like melting the butter so I don't have to wait for the butter to soften, this means I can make cookies at the drop of a hat!  I also mix it very well with the sugar, which makes a smoother batter.  Finally, I let the dough chill for about an hour before baking.  The following is the altered recipe:


2 1/4 cups + 1 TBS all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks, 1/2 pound) butter, melted
5/8 cup granulated [white] sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups (12-ounce package) chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large mixing bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if you are including them. Drop by rounded tablespoon sized balls onto ungreased baking sheets.  BAKE in preheated 375-degree [Fahrenheit], or 190-degree (Celsius) oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.