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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

How to avoid crochet block: 9 things crocheter do to be more productive

11:57:00 PM 2 Comments
You have been crocheting for years, but suddenly the ideas stop coming. We don't know what to crochet, too lazy to continue current WIP, even lose interest to touch the hook.
Keep calm ladies, it is the time to understand that 'Crochet Block' attacks you.

Having a crochet block is common among crochet crafters. I experienced it too many times.
Since crochet fails to be relaxing activity, we might just sit back and take a break. It could be because we are too tired caused by daily activities, but could also a sign of something serious happened (in this cause, making appointment with doctor might help).

Here are lists of activities you can try to re-gain your crochet desire.

1. Start a new but small crochet project.

As a crafter, sometimes we get too rough to our self in completing a big project. Major project is really challenging to be completed, it usually takes up to months to be finished. During the work, taking a small break is crucial to avoid crochet block. However, catching up (again) with the big project after long break can be challenging too because we need time to focus on what to do next. I suggest to make a note for each project and put each of them in a bag, along with the yarn. The note contains the pattern, the hook I used to make it, the types of yarn and where I am up to. It helps me anytime I get back to the project.
There are a lot of small projects we can try without loosing focus on the big one. My favourite is trying a new flower pattern, which is beneficial for me because I turned them into corsage and sell it. Then I feel a sense of accomplishment too, which is good to my mood.
One set of my corsage flowers.

2. Join Crochet Communities

There are numerous number of crochet group out there. Joining a group is advantageous to get some supports. It is true that most of the members doesn't know each other in person, however, I have seen they support each other a lot. Almost all members never hesitate to encourage whenever someone found herself down for some reasons and the spiritual encouragement come in seconds!

Groups are also the best place to ask for recommendations. Having a suggestion from crochet crafter that have been crocheting and crafting for 15-20 years is gold. Basically we are free to ask anything in the groups as long as it is not a hate speech (or maybe a violent content, just follow the rules!), what types of yarn best for afghan, pattern for baby blanket, a throw ideas, kitchen napkin, towels, anything you need. Members will be happy to answer and giving a review. Don't forget that all of those review is genuine! it is based on their personal experiences as crocheter.

I Joined some Groups on Facebook. Some are local crochet communities which sells second hand crochet yarns and hooks. The most fun rule for me is that someone could only purchase that super low priced yarn after presenting her recent crochet project! The admin girls said it is because most of us tends to builds up tons of skeins at home rather than start chaining (well, It happened to me too....). In other groupie share difficulties when met unsupportive spouse or other family members toward our hobby, we also make discussions about pricing, a trouble reading patterns, even sometimes arrange meet up between group members.

Despite the local crochet groups, I joined international groups too. Joining international groups is really gives me bunch of lesson in crochet. Mostly regarding types of yarns available in every country  which are so diverse. I realised that most popular yarn abroad might not the most preferred in Indonesia, it caused by the lack of supply, if it is, the price is not affordable for some of crafters. However, seeing other crocheter hand made is relaxing and kind of triggering a new idea pop-up to my mind. Lets say crocheted bag, cushion and blanket are my timeless favourites. Just need to be a little creative adjusting the size because I am going to make it with local yarn. 

3. Take days off.

Don't feel guilty to take some days off and do other things that fun. It is totally okay even if crochet is our life line and it supports family finance. There are many things to do outside our crochet cube, such as gardening, cooking, or maybe short family travelling might be an option to heal our crochet soul. Sometimes I caffeinated my self during a small break in a day, it goes very well with cookies though! lol.
In my opinion, If we are treating crochet as an income pipe in life, we deserve a memorable holiday too! Just figure out what to do during the break and go for it!

4. Read a crochet book.

Well, to be honest, I do not really read the crochet books.
I usually go straight to the diagrams or written patterns. I am a big fan of Japanese crochet books. They are awesome beside the price! I got some of mine from online sales, other from a lady who sells her second hand books. I am immediately in love with them, they are written in Japanese, I cannot read even a single word. But the diagrams are so easy to understand.

Two of my evergreen favourite books

5. Social Media Strolling. 

I have to admit that Social Media is great platform to dig new ideas. Facebook is helping me a lot to connect with other crafter yet for inline shopping to build up my craft supplies. Instagram has unlimited beautiful photos of handmade things to try. I also count on Pinterest for free patterns and free online crochet books. Feel free to enjoy those social medias during the break, it is not a taboo for keeping some pattern later then forget it tomorrow, lol. And as mentioned earlier, throwing problems at specific group might help. We can support, learn and share ideas together. 

6. Sending Gifts.

I did it several times and planning to do it regularly. 
It is really warm and nice feelings while our handmade well accepted by friends. We can ask for feedbacks too. It is good to improve our handmade quality. Anytime our friend wear it, she can point to us when someone look interested on the handmade.

7. Daily Routine Self-care. 

Looking back the past few years ago, I was so careless to my self. I was not happy. Life is taft to every new mom. I know nothing about the importance of self-care to a new mom with a new born baby, and that straightly put me in a little depression. Nowadays, I found that self-care is relevant to my productivity as a crocheter too.
My everyday self care routine only takes 15 minutes. So anytime I start to do crochet, I spent few minutes to look back my reflection on the mirror, then brush my hair, put a smooth shade on my face, and colour my lip. It brings my energy back when I see my self ready of the day, making a huge change to my life with crochet. :)). It gives me a sense that I am ready for work.

I found some other people make tea and enjoy the silence, read books in quite time, make a pray, recite The Holy Koran, without any distraction from any kind of gizmos. Other will send the kids play with their grandma or grandpa, so then the couple can make time just for talking, having a super nice dinner at home or restaurant, movies or even simple thing like taking a bath in peace. :P

8. Talk to a friend. 

This maybe a little bit hard for an introvert. If it is not convenient, try talk to your spouse or your kids. Kids are amazing, they sometimes have a valuable point of view. Their fresh mind many times have an authentic ideas that worth to try. Even if it is not, their serious-silly comments ofter brings to laughter. Laugh is good in improving our mood, isn't it?

9. Meet the doctor. 

This might be the last option should consider especially if we lost interest in almost everything plus having a sleep disorder. It maybe a sign of depression. Medication with doctor's prescription will help. Companion from family is needed too. Soon after we feel better, crocheting will be fun and relaxing again.

After all, I hope at least one of those tips will work.
I would very happy to hear any tips or other suggestions or stories too..
and be ready to crochet again.
-with love-

Thursday, February 14, 2019

A quick update for a Small living room on budget.

7:25:00 AM 0 Comments
Living in a small house with a tiny living room could be so challenging when we want to put decoration in it. Too much decoration will make the room feel cramped, but if nothing there it can makes whoever sitting there having a dull moment all day long.
Having a right decoration is one point we should consider to upgrade the look.
After 5 years of our first home renovation, I was thinking to update my super tiny living room. However, I was too lazy to spend too much money on it even for shopping.

It took me few hours surfing on internet to look for some ideas of quickest way living room update.
Google gives me ideas that updating a room doesn't always means we have to replace all the furnitures with a brand new one, especially when you are on a tight budget or have no time to look for a brand new household properties that suits your home. Old furniture will look spectacular like a brand new thing with small touch. This brings me a flash to recycle or re-newing my old furniture, just by doing a little effort on it.

Then I decided to use my crochet flower collections, along with decision to make over old painting on the living room wall, and I think that was the best make-over I have done so far. :))
Check out the steps on how I did it!!

1. Prepare the decorations
I like crocheting and have a lot of flower crochet stock in numerous styles and colours. Some of them were made using the same pattern but in different colour and types of yarn. So they aren't quite similar :P.
Choosing which one that I was going to use for wall decoration was not as easy as I thought. Because I need to consider whether it is match with the wall paint and other furniture exist in my living room. Am I wanting it to be completely flat or make it a little 3D looks? Whether I want it looks "rich" and full with flowers in different styles and colours, or keep it simple.

crochet flowers.

Artificial leaves
My concern is not to make the tiny living room too crowded. So I chose the most simple flowers and some of them are in the same pattern and colour. I prepared some artificial leaves and burlap fabric for background of the decoration. If you do not have a stock of crocheted flowers at home, you can be more creative using paper, fabrics or even invest in buying quilling paper then makes a quilling paper art!

I also prepared Astero glue, artificial pearls, needles and thread in matching colour to the background.

2. Design the arrangement of the ornaments and do a little sewing
It took me almost one full day to design final looks of the wall deco. As you know, there are thousands ideas on the internet. But then it makes me even more confused. I have tried many of them before then I realised that in order to get a nice arrangement, we need to count the overall size and colours of the decoration. *sigh
One might look best for other room because it was placed in a way bigger living room than mine. :P
In my case, I really want it to look warn and homey, but still simple.

Investing your time on designing is not a waste at all. Remember that the decoration is meant to impress the guests and all the family members. Taking pictures of different styles before you decide to pick one of the best is also crucial. Our brain might not be able to remember all the design we have tried. Pictures are really handy to refresh our memories. For me, taking pictures is important since I have a toddler who following me almost everywhere. I can look back the pictures and decide which one I think is the best while playing with my baby.

Once the design is fixed, it is time to stick the flowers onto the background. At first, I was thinking to attach the crochet flowers using a glue gun. But then I remember some of my corsage were separated from its pin when it was tacked using glue gun, besides I don't want that opaque-dried glue appear on the decoration.
I decided to go with threats and needles. Yes it takes longer time. But I think the result is awesome, it  also makes the decoration washable which is impossible if I chose the glue gun.
Stick each flower onto the burlap one-by-one, by stitching every corner of its edge. Anytime I started to stitch a flower, I looked back the picture again, to remain me which flower and where it should be placed.

DOn't forget to sew each edge of the burlap fabric, it may takes time, but worth it. Unless we want to see the yarn fall a part.

A little hand sewing on the edges of the background fabric really helps to make it looks neat.

3. Clean up.
This step probably the easiest among others, lol.
I did not use specific cleaner for wood, I used water instead. Just pre-wet unused cloth, then wipe the wooden frame carefully. Let it sit at room temperature to dry.

4. Finishing
To finish my wall deco is such a big deal for me, because honestly I didn't have any idea how to attach the fabric onto the frame and covers the old painting!
My confusedness took me to search (again) bunch of videos, tutorials and bunch tips on "how to attach fabric to wooden frame", but none of them applied to my needs. Most of the tutorials are giving advices on how to make a permanent wall deco, in my case, I want it to be washable, which means it should be easy to be attached or removed for cleaning.

Then I have an idea to use velcro.
Velcro consists of two parts, which are hook and loop. I put the Hook on the surface of the old painting and the loop at a the back side of the burlap fabric(sewn).
Attaching the hook parts on the old painting is a real hurdle, I have tried sticking it using Astero glue (it says it is a multifunction glue, suitable for paper, carpet even for wood). However, it didn't as strong as I expected. I leave it for a while to dry, then tighten it by hand sewing, just like the way I was stitching the loop at the back of the burlap fabric.
This is how I attach the velcro. 

Once it done, the fabric is ready to be fastened to the old wooden frame and cover the painting.
And tadaaaa,,,, I love it..

New mood at my living room.
I hope you all picking ideas from my post, old thing can be transformed into something pretty too. Other good things are it is save your wallet and your time.