Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Hats 4 the Homeless

For the past 2-3 weeks, I've been hooking up a storm! I made some holiday gifts for friends and family members. I also made a bunch of items for an organization called Hats 4 the Homeless in nearby Hackensack, New Jersey (USA). For this, organization, I made 7 ear warmers, 5 hats, and 2 scarves. One of the scarves still needs the ends woven in, so it is not pictured here. I hope everyone is doing well. Happy holidays! 
PS- If you would like to support me and help me pay for yarn, please visit Green Owl Crochet, my Etsy shop. Thank you!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Big Hook Rag Crochet

      I bought Big Hook Rag Crochet because I love working with large crochet hooks. I crochet a lot of items (cat beds, ear warmers, etc) using large hooks and super-bulky yarns. After crocheting about 25 pet beds for the local animal shelter this year, I’m officially tired of making cat beds! So, I turned to Big Hook Rag Crochet by Dedri Uys for ideas about what other projects I can hook. 
     I love that, in the beginning of the book, there is information about each designer. I always find it interesting to read blurbs about crochet designers before I actually see their their patterns. 
     Almost all of the projects in the book were made with fabric yarn that was created by the designers themselves. I, however, am not patient enough to sit down with scissors and cut my own fabric yarn. I admire that the designers in Big Hook Rag Crochet made their own yarn, but I’ll buy my yarn online. That being said, there is a helpful tutorial on how to make yarn out of fabric in the back of the book. I love that making your own yarn out of recycled materials is eco-friendly.
     The projects themselves are super fun! The projects in Big Hook Rag Crochet range from a garage can to a cat bed to jewelry. Much to my surprise, I love the beautiful, chunky jewelry included in the book, even though I often dislike crocheted jewelry. 
     If you love to crochet larger projects, I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of Big Hook Rag Crochet!

Friday, December 7, 2018

deep fall crochet goodness 2018

Hello, beauties! I've been having a lot of bad days, due to my severe pain and fatigue. However, I've still been able to crochet a lot. In the past month, I've made a scarf, a blanket, and two hats. One of the hats is for my dad for one of his Christmas gifts. Speaking of Christmas, what are you all doing this year for the holidays? My mom, dad, and I are driving to Massachusetts to see my aunt, uncle, and cousins. I love going to see them! Alas, car rides make my fibromyalgia pain much worse, so I hope the pain won't be too bad this year. As a friendly reminder, I have an Etsy shop where I sell items I crochet. I also accept crochet commissions. I would greatly appreciate your patronage. Ciao! 

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Bowl (flash fiction)

     A quick update: I've been having some terrible nights lately. I have a sleep disorder, which is exacerbated by my fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Last night, I wasn't able to fall asleep until 4am, and that was only after taking a sleeping pill. Needless to say, it is extremely frustrating. I was, however, able to write a short story last night. Writing the story made me feel at least a little bit productive. I'll share the story here. I would like to give a special thanks to my friends Kevin, Matthew, Jose, and Randall for giving me feedback on the story.

The Bowl 
     Jessica sat at her clean, uncluttered desk and stared out of the window. This window was her favorite, as it gave her a view of the courtyard. The other windows in her apartment looked out at the grimy streets below. 
     Her stare was broken when the sun caught on a piece of sea glass. Jessica frowned gently as she thought of Sean. Sean was the man who bought her the bowl that holds the pieces of sea glass. He brought it back from Japan for Jessica. They were engaged at the time. Although, at that point, Jessica already knew that it was over. She knew that Sean was cheating on her. 
     Jessica looked at her perfectly manicured hands. The ring may be gone, but the pain of the betrayal remains. She stood up and grabbed the bowl in both hands. It was heavier than she remembered it being when Sean first gave it to her. She then slammed the bowl on the floor, the sound reverberating throughout the room. Jessica looked at the shards and smiled. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I heart you... (November 2018 update)

I had a huge fibromyalgia flare-up in August and ended up in the hospital. My chronic pain and fatigue have been kicking my butt, frankly. Most days, I have to spend hours in bed. It's awful. I have, however, been able to do some art-making and crocheting! I've made some hats, ear warmers, scarves, and more. I'll donate some of these items to Hats 4 the Homeless. I've also been helping my dad care for the three baby parrots, writing poetry and journals, participating in activism (such as mailing postcards to politicians), and engaging in some street art activities. I've gotten some sales in Green Owl Crochet (my Etsy shop), which is so great! It's always encouraging and uplifting when someone buys something from Green Owl Crochet. If you can, please check out Green Owl Crochet. Also, I accept crochet commissions. Just email me through Etsy and I'll see what I can do. Thank you!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Things That Never Were (poem)

Things That Never Were

I dream of princes,

strong and handsome,
of busy songbirds
soaring in the
heavens above, and of 
extraterrestrial visitors 
feeding me their 
sacred blood,

yet I have 

never dreamed
of something 
as sweet 
as what I
wish you were.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

birds, birds, birds!

     I've been living at my dad's house for the past four months to help him care for his parrots' babies. They are hyacinth macaw babies. We now have two! The oldest is Angelina, a girl. The younger baby is temporarily named Carolina. We may, however, change the name, especially since we don't yet know if it is a boy or a girl. 
     When the babies are first hatched, they need to be fed every hour, around the clock. I have a sleep disorder and am often awake at night, so it made sense for me to take over the nightly feedings. My dad does the daytime feedings. We also have a woman who comes in a few times a week to take over one of the feedings. It's exhausting! 
     Between feedings, I've been keeping myself occupied with my usual hobbies (crochet, reading, and mail art). I've also been writing a fair amount of poetry. Last week, I wrote thirteen poems in about three days. It was fun! I'm still doing my volunteer tutoring "job" through Project Literacy. So, yes... the exhaustion is real!
     In the past few months, I've crocheted a large heart, a small heart, a large rainbow, a rock cozy, a stuffed toy pumpkin, a hat, a mason jar cozy, and lots of cat beds. The cat beds are mostly for the local animal shelter, but I also mailed some to friends and acquaintances. I'm currently working on a cowl and a drawstring pouch. My friend Joshua commissioned the pouch from me. Yes, I accept crochet commissions! If you're interested, please email me at ericalaurend on gmail. Also, please check out my Etsy shop, Green Owl Crochet!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Lion Brand London Kaye LKYC yarn and hooks

     Hello! As I've stated before, I've been working with super bulky yarns a lot lately. I've mostly been crocheting cat beds and cat mats for the local animal shelter. So far, I've made eleven beds and six mats for the kitties. I've also made some other fun projects, like another large rainbow and two mason jar cozies. 
     I first heard about Lion Brand's London Kaye LKYC yarn and hooks through the JoAnn website. I visit their website about once or twice a week. In late March, I noticed that JoAnn's website had a special advertisement featuring London Kaye's work. I had heard of London Kaye before, because of her yarn bombing pursuits. I clicked on the advertisement and it brought me to a page with Lion Brand's London Kaye LKYC yarn, yarn packs, and hooks.
     I needed some more large hooks, so I decided to buy the set of her three crochet hooks. The pack is currently 9.99 US dollars on JoAnn's website. However, when I bought them back in March, they were on sale for 7.99 dollars. The set contains all three of London Kaye's crochet hooks: a 9 mm, an 11.5 mm, and a 20 mm. They are lime green, hot pink, and electric blue, respectively. 
     These hooks are great! I love the way the lightweight plastic feels in my hand. The plastic is light, but does not feel cheap. The ergonomic handles do not tire out my hand,wrist, and arm as much as some other kinds of hooks. However, I have to admit that London Kaye's crochet hooks do not allow yarn to glide as smoothly as Clover's Amour hooks. Also, a small complaint I have is that there was a rough plastic nub on the tip of the 9 mm hook. I was able to file the nub down with a nail file, though. All that being said, I'll stick to using Clover's Amour hooks most of the time. I will, however, keep the London Kaye hooks for when I teach crochet, or for when I want a little variety. 
     Now let's talk about the yarn. The yarn is super bulky and 100% acrylic. It comes in twenty three colors. At first, I bought three of London Kaye's yarn packs: London Eye Blue, Roy G Biv, and Spread the Love. I used these packs to crochet the London Eye, two rainbows, and a heart. I got the idea for these projects from Lion Brand's video tutorials, which feature London Kaye herself. The yarn packs come with five skeins each. Plus, each yarn pack comes with an inspiration booklet. The inspiration booklet is interesting eye candy. However, it would be better if there were few patterns, or even just some yarn bombing and/or general crocheting tips, included.
     After quickly using up all the yarn from the packs, I went on to buy twenty one skeins of Lion Brand's London Kaye LKYC yarn in the middle of April. I feel conflicted about the yarn. I appreciate that the price is low, the yarn soft, and the colors vivid. I also love that I am supporting London Kaye, whom I admire. I do not, however, enjoy that the skeins are so small (only twenty yards!). I've also found that almost every skein I've used has one or two knots in it, which is such a pain. 
     All in all, I'd recommend Lion Brand's London Kaye hooks. I'd say that the yarn collection is worth buying, with some reservation. I'd especially recommend Lion Brand's London Kaye yarn if you're looking for an affordable yarn in small amounts, say, for yarn bombing or another project that could benefit from the yarn's attributes. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

the tale of the super-bulky yarn

On Saturday, I received a package I'd ordered from JoAnn's. The package had some large hooks and yarn from Lion Brand's London Kaye line. Since then, I've been crocheting up a storm! In the past, I haven't used super-bulky yarn much. Now, I'm loving it! Here are some pictures of the items I've made. Please don't forget to visit my Etsy shop, Green Owl Crochet. Thank you! 

Monday, March 19, 2018

artwork and a lemon

I whipped out all of my art supplies and had a fun art-making session on Tuesday last week. I made three pieces of art on cardboard. I started a painting on a real canvas but I wasn't able to finish it. I find I feel more free to experiment and have fun when I work on cardboard. I also made an art journal page on Thursday. On the crochet front, I made a lemon and started on a banana. I'm very happy to announce that I got two commissions! My one friend wants me to crochet him fruits and vegetables for a bowl and my other friend wants a lightweight hat. It's so great to get commissions! Also, I took a big step for me as an artist. I set up a Patreon page! If you would be so kind, please check it out and contribute and/or share as you're able. I greatly appreciate it! And don't forget my Etsy shop.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

bad health day, good crochet day

I had a terrible day yesterday. I had "the usual" (severe leg pain and debilitating fatigue), plus a bad headache. I did, however, manage to crochet a lot! I worked on a scarf and a red garland. I had to scrap the scarf because the yarn had so many knots in it that it was giving me grief. The red garland is for my aunt and uncle's Christmas tree for next year. I also started and finished three crochet projects: a mason jar cozy and two rock cozies. All three items are for sale in Green Owl Crochet, my Etsy shop. And please remember that I also accept commissions! Thank you, crochet, for allowing me to feel productive, connected, content, and calm, even during bad days.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

late-winter crochet extravaganza!

Good news! I made a sale in my Etsy shop, Green Owl Crochet. I sold a shamrock lariat. I give thanks to my mom and my sister's pup, Harlow, for modeling the lariat for my shop. In related news, I've been crocheting up a storm! I crocheted a mushroom and a puff-stitch hat, along with the lariat, in only ten days or so. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

crocheted rock cozies

Hello! It's almost spring here in the northeastern USA. This means the weather will be warming up and hoards of winter-weary folks will flock to parks and playgrounds. I'll add a bit of whimsy to these people's lives by participating in some street art. Usually, I'm tip-lipped about my street art activities. These rock cozies, however, are just too jazzy not to share with you all. By the way, I would love it if you would check out Green Owl Crochet, my Etsy store.

so much goodness

Hello, dear friends! I have been fairly busy with babysitting and also caring for two baby parrots. The parrots are being weaned by my dad a...