Won’t You Be My Neighbor?


How is that for a throwback to childhood and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood? But seriously wouldn’t it be great to have a large community of neighbors who are interested in what you have going on? I don’t mean in a nosy way, but in a genuinely interested way.

Sometimes I really do.

And the good thing about the internet is we can do that in many ways. True there’s Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, blogs like this…

But then…

A bad thing about the internet is that something that’s here today could be completely gone tomorrow. Then what do you do about those connections? How do you keep in touch with those contacts for whom you have NO contact information?

You don’t own your lists of friends online, no matter what social media platform you use.

Do you kno what you do own?

Your email contacts list.

And so that’s my point today. I would lie to invite you to be my virtual neighbor. Join my community. I’ll send you an email once a week, usually on Friday, to let you know what’s going on. I’ll include a link back to this blog in case there’s something you’ve missed. And you’ll be the first to know when something new is on the way.

(For example, there’s something new that my community list has known about for a couple weeks that I have yet to annouce here. I will soon, though.)

Because of some choices I made when I first set up this website, I can’t just pop a form in for you to fill out. What I can do is give you a link

See? I just did.

Yes, I’m being silly. But serously, you can click the link above or the image at the beginning of this post and sign up. For the rest of this month, you’ll get a free crochet pattern PDF in exchange for your email address. In August, it will be something different. I’ll switch it up between something for people more interested in writing and for people more interested in crochet.

I’m also going to be setting up a resource library here. There will be items of interest for writers and crocheters. I’ll work on that this weekend. It will be passsword-protected and the onl way to get the password will be to join the newsletter community.

Some of you may be thinking that you already subscribe to my blog, so why do you need to sign up for the community newsletter? Well, one reason is the resource library I just mentioned. Another reason is… What would you do if I had to move this blog and the subscriptions didn’t move with it? How would you know where I’d gone and where to find me?

Signing up for the community newsletter would keep you from wondering if I’d just dropped off the face of the planet….or got helplessly tangled up in a ball of yarn.

It could happen.

Free Pattern: Symmetrical Cuff with Ruffle

I had a rough week last week. Instead of going into details or trying to do a catch-up post, I decided I would just go ahead with this week’s post as planned.

I’ve been going through old patterns that I’ve made in the past. Some I’ve written myself, some I haven’t. This is one that I’ve written. I had found a pattern for a cuff that was meant to be worn under your jacket/coat. It had a ruffle to keep the wind from blowing up your sleeve. But… It was too froo-froo for me. I loved the idea, though, so I decided to see if I could come up with my own.

The result is on Ravelry as a free PDF, but I’m giving it to you here, too.

Symmetrical Cuff with Ruffle

Abbreviations:

ss – slip stitch
sc – single crochet
dc – double crochet
blo – back loops only
flo – front loops only

Materials:

Size H/5.0 mm hook
1 ball sport weight yarn
1 ball contrasting yarn for trip (optional)
Tapestry needle

Gauge:

4 rows = 2 inches, 4 stitches = 1 inch
Gauge is not crucial but is helpful.

Instructions:

Lower cuff:

Chain 30, join with slip stitch in the first chain to form a circle
Row 1: Ch 3, dc in each st around, join with ss in the 3rd ch
Rows 2-4: Repeat row 1
Fasten off and weave in ends.

Working in unused loops of the base chain, connect yarn with sc to any stitch. Sc around

Ruffle: 

Ch 3, working blo, 2 more dc in same space as join, *3 dc in ea st around, join with ss in the top of ch 3.
Fasten off and weave in ends.

Upper cuff: 

Row 1: Join in any st. Working flo, ch 3, dc in ea st around, join with ss.
Row 2: Working in both loops, Ch 3, dc in ea st around, join
Rows 3-6: Rep row 2
Fasten off and weave in ends.

Trim (optional)

Reverse sc in same or contrasting color around all edges.
Fasten off and weave in ends.

Repeat for 2nd cuff

If you have any questions about the pattern, please leave me a comment or send an email to jen@jennippsonline.com. This is one of my very first patterns, so there might be some mistakes in it.

Where Did My Mojo Go?

Today I had planned to invite you to subscribe to my newsletter. But the sign-up form isn’t playing nice with WordPress. So while I troubleshoot that, I thought I would share something else with you.

Even though I don’t usually talk about it online, it’s no secret I’ve been dealing with Wound Care for far too long. Because of that, my writing has kind of waxed and waned during the whole time. (It’s been five years and that doesn’t count the time I spent trying to take care of it myself.)

Now it’s come to a point where I have no writing mojo. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

My creative efforts have gone to crochet and making a business around that (including blogging, designing patterns, etc.).

I don’t know that I want to get my mojo back. Is that wrong of me? But I have one book at a publisher that I have to finish edits on.

What would you do in such a situation?
Leave a comment below saying what you would do or have done when you needed to get your mojo back.

In the meantime, if you want to sign up for my newsetter, which will cover crochet and writing, email me your email address and I will add you to it. You’ll get a free PDF guide for taking care of different yarn fibers too.

It’s a Monster Invasion!

Have you ever seen someone come up with such a great idea that you wanted to be part of it? Not only that, you wondered how you could be part of it?

That’s me.

A couple weeks ago, I saw a post by a Facebook friend, BeLinda Creech. (She and her daughter CeCe were behind the Elephants for Joplin movement after an EF5 tornado destroyed much of Joplin, Missouri.) She was starting a movement to spread joy around the country.

Monsters were going to be a key part of that movement.

These are no ordinary monsters, though. None of your run-of-the-mill One-Eyed, One-Horned Flying Purple People Eaters here. No, sir! (Or Ma’am.)

BeLinda developed a knit pattern for a monster and posted it on Ravelry.

With support from Maker’s Mercantile, Operation Monster Drop was born. Since then, Amanda King developed a crochet pattern. (Both are available as free downloads in the Maker’s Mercantile shop. Link will open in a new window. NOTE: Please be aware the patterns are only free until the end of June.)

The original idea is to make monsters and leave them in random public locations for people to find. Each monster has a tag describing their mission (to spread joy) and a hashtag (#monsterdrop, #operationmonsterdrop) so the finder can post a picture to Facebook. That way, we can see where our monsters are spreading their joy.

Since Operation Monster Drop started, there have been knit monsters, crocheted monsters, sewn monsters, and even some silver monster pins (so cute!!). All spread their own unique kind of joy.

As BeLinda has said, the monster’s joy is actually double. How can that be, you wonder? It’s simple, actually. The monster brings joy to the person who makes it AND to the person who finds it.

How can you get involved?

Check out the Facebook page, The Monster Drop Project, download the pattern(s) (or come up with your own), and start dropping monsters.

It’s quite fun!

As of writing this post, I have dropped two monsters. They both went to the Wound Care clinic I go to.

One went home in a nurse’s pocket. The other had to get a compression wrap. Poor guy! But afterward, he went home with the Wound Care Specialist where he is getting plenty of TLC.

I have more monsters to make, so I’ll talk to you all later.

Happy crocheting!

Should You Go to a Conference?

No matter what your hobbies or career choices, eventually you’ll be faced with going to a conference. Should you go or not?

The short answer is yes. You should go.

The longer answer begins with “it depends.”
Here are three things to consider when you’re decidig whether or not to go to a conference.

1. Budget

Unfortunately, conferences aren’t free. Some are more expensive than others and only you can decide if it’s worth the cost or not. If you’ve never been to that conference, it’s difficult. How can you know if a conference is worth the mone if you’ve never been? (Talk to others who have been, evaluate the speakers, etc.)

Aside from the conference fees, though, remember the travel expense and vendors. Many conferences have books or other merchanidse for sale. That needs to be considered when you decide on your budget.

2. Education

Depending on your profession. you have to have to have a certain level of continuing education credits. Because of that, you might be hesitant about going to another conference for something you don’t have to do. I understand that.

The thing is, if you don’t go to conferences that aren’t “required,” you’re behind on new advancements and upcoming trends by the time they hit the stores. That makes you scramble to try to keep up. Disclaimer: I am NOT suggesting you should chase trends. Keep with what you know and love, but be aware and ready to change or adapt if there’s something new coming up that you want to incorporate in what you do.

3. Connections

Conferences allow you to network and meet with like-minded people who work in similar areas as you. Yes, you can meet people in groups on Facebook and other social media platforms, but there’s something to be said for meeting people face-to-face in real life. The shared connection of the interest the conference caters to makes networking and meeting new people easier and less awkward.

The people you meet can become friends, mentors, coworkers, collaborators, and even fans of your work. They can help you promote your work and you can help promote theirs. It’s almost like having a built-in street team.

What else?

There are many more reasons to attend conferences. I couldn’t list everything here, so I thought I would focus on the top three. What did I miss that you think is an important consideration? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Podcast: Living Your Creative Life – 6 Keys to Creativity Part 3

This is the final installment of the 6 Keys of Creativity. If you missed parts 1 and 2, links are below so you can go back and listen to them.

Part 1

Part 2

7 Methods to Cope When Life Gets in the Way

Last week was interesting. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say there are times that life gets in the way. It feels like it jumps up and slaps us in the face.

What do we do about it? Especially when things are going pretty well and we’re humming along, doing what we do.

Here are seven ideas to cope.

1. Keep on keeping on.

Sometimes the disruption is minor. We can keep on going like nothing happened. That doesn’t mean we aren’t stressed out about it or that we’re not disappointed, but we can deal with it without much interruption in our lives.

2. Take some time off.

This is what I had to do last week and why this post is late. Only you can determine how much time you need to take off. I decided that the rest of the week was right for me. It turned out to be the right decision for me. Maybe one day will work for you. Maybe a week would be better.

At the end of the week, I was ready to get back to writing. To my way of thinking, that’s how you know when you’re ready to get back to whatever you do. However, if you don’t get back to that point relatively soon, there might be something deeper going on.

3. Meditate.

I really can’t say how well this does or doesn’t work. I intend to meditate but either fall asleep or just don’t do it. I do have Insight Meditation Timer and enjoy the relaxation music to go to sleep, so that is a resource to consider.

4. Rest.

Maybe to cope with stress or unexpected events, you need more rest. Go to bed earlier. Get up later (if possible). Take a nap (again, if possible). Don’t just try to power through.

5. Escape (literally or figuratively).

Reading and watching movies are forms of figuratively escaping. A literal escape is a vacation or weekend getaway. Just don’t escape to the point of running away from whatever is going on so you don’t have to deal with it.

6. Be kind to yourself.

This should go without saying. However, I know we are our own worst critics. Goodness knows I am!

When you’re going through hard times, the temptation is even greater to be hard on yourself. Try to avoid that. You really didn’t screw up. The world isn’t going to end because of what is going on (even if it does feel like it). It will be okay.

7. Remember it’s (usually) temporary.

The world might feel topsy-turvy, but it will be back on its axis tomorrow. Take a breath and remind yourself (every five seconds if needed) it’s temporary.

Sooner or later, your world will right itself and your creativity will return

Leave a comment and tell me what works for you. Do you do any of the things on this list or something different?