We All Need Help

Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help. We think we can go it alone. For a while, maybe we do. But things have a way of snowballing and getting beyond our control.

Maybe it’s work or health. Maybe it’s family or life in general.

You don’t want to, but you realize you need help. You try to keep on keeping on and you

just

can’t

do it.

I know how it feels. I’ve been there too often.

Just bite the frog and do it. Ask for help. Generally, people want to help. They want to support you in what you do.

The other day, I gave a semi-tongue-in-cheek post about my 4-legged assistants. The fact is, I get a lot of help from family and friends. Especially my parents. There are a lot of things about my situation that I’m not going to get into, but because of their help, things are better than they were this time last year.

Who has been your biggest help?

March is National Crochet Month

I recently joined the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA). Why?

There are several reasons. One is that I’ve wanted to for a while, but I assumed the dues would be out of my price range. I found out that isn’t so. It’s $35USD a year for individuals.

A second has to do with plans I have for the near future. I want to teach some classes at a local store and I thought it would look better for me to be a CGOA member. (I also discovered they have a certified instructor program that would be good to do too.)

Third is I’m really interested in some of the events coming up. For example, they have a conference in July. I don’t know yet if I’ll be able to go or not, but it’s good to know. The website is also why/how I discovered March is National Crochet Month.

With all this, if you’re a crocheter, you might be interested in membership benefits. From the welcome email:

CGOA membership offers great inspiration and connection with other crochet enthusiasts as well as the following member benefits:

  • Annual free subscription to Crochet! Magazine
  • CGOA Member newsletter “Chain Link”
  • Bi-monthly eNewsletter
  • FREE Patterns
  • Quarterly Crochet-A-Longs
  • CGOA BLOG
  • Educational Opportunities:

– Discount on Craft Yarn Councils’ Certified Instructor Program

– Discount on Master of Advanced Stitches and Techniques programs

  • Access to a teacher contact list for CGOA chapter workshops
  • Networking

– Join or start a CGOA chapter to connect locally – there’s even a cyber chapter

– Volunteer for one of the many committee opportunities

  • CGOA Annual Conference benefits:

– Class discounts

– Free entry into the Marketplace

– Meet top teachers in the field of crochet

– Members free or reduced rates on ticketed events

– Members-only Design Competition

– Attend Professional Development courses

There are some other benefits, but instead of showing everything here, click the link above to go to the website.

My Favorite Crochet Hooks

It’s no secret I crochet. A lot. This summer, I actually crocheted myself into tendonitis, but that’s not the point of this post.

I want to talk a little bit about my favorite crochet hooks.

My go-to hook is a size J/10 6.0 mm hook. In the picture here, you can see the wear on my absolute favorite hook in the middle. It’s a blue-green with the underlying silver showing through.

Who thought you could wear the color off of a metal crochet hook? I didn’t. Now I know.

My second favorite hook is not pictured. It’s also a size J. The handle is gray with purple flowers and the hook itself is purple.

I have a third favorite hook. It’s also not picture because there’s a project on it. It’s a size L/11 8.0 mm Tunisian crochet hook. I’m making a shawl designed by Toni Lipsey of TL Yarn Crafts. I love the pattern. I love the hook. I’ll share pictures of the finished project if you’re interested.

There you have it. A few if my favorite crochet hooks and why.

What is your favorite tool you use in your creating/making?

To Pin or Not to Pin

This is something I struggle with. I often forget to pin things to Pinterest, even when it’s in my interests to do so.

It’s often said that pinning items on Pinterest attracts more viewers, readers, or customers. It’s also said that pinned articles have a longer shelf life than those that don’t. I haven’t noticed if either of these are true or not.

However, I don’t yet pin consistently. In a time of making changes to what I do and how I do it when it comes to this blog, this is one more thing I’m changing.

Every time I publish a post, I will pin it. Maybe after a while, I will be able to look at my stats and see a difference.

Riddle me this: Do you use Pinterest for your business/blog/writing? Have you noticed a difference when you do vs when you don’t?

Choosing Pictures for Blog Posts

I thought I would share a little peek behind the scenes and talk about how I choose pictures for blog posts.

First, I start with the topic of the blog post. If it’s a general post, I might just use a picture of me. If it’s about something specific, like this one, I know I need one that’s more relevant.

Second, I will look at the images I already have uploaded to my blog. Sometimes I can reuse one of them. I’ve done that several times. If I don’t find a usable one, I will look in the photo library of pictures I have taken.

If I don’t find a photo I want to use from my files, I have two more options. I can either take a photo or use one from the WordPress library.

It’s easy to get caught up in the image search and spend too much time on it. I’ve actually opted to publish a post without an image if I can’t find one and am short on time. I try not to do that very often, though.

Third, when I have the image in place, I finish the post. I will give it a once-over, set the category and tags, and publish or schedule the post.

That’s a little bit about how I do it things. What about you? Do you always include photos with your blog posts?

My Assistants

We all have assistants of one variation or another. Today I want to tell you about my furry assistants.

Ellie and Gabby.

Ellie (pictured) is a shih-tzu/American Standard Terrier mix. She came to live with us in August after Zack crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Gabby is a black and white shih-tzu.

Ellie has an under bite that, according to one of my nieces, looks like she’s smiling all the time “but it’s kinda creepy too.” She’s a good guard dog and she’s really energetic. She’s around a year old.

Gabby is appropriately named. She’s a barker. She loves kids and is quite excitable. She can also be laid back and quiet. We don’t have to wonder if our doorbell works or not because she’ll let us know if anyone is there.

When I want to get any work done, I have to give them both plenty of attention before I get started. They also make sure I take plenty of breaks. Especially Gabby.

I have some people who help me out too. I’ll talk about them in another post. I might be referring to these two often, though, so I wanted you to “meet” them.

Ebook vs Print

This has been a question since Amazon came out with the first Kindle. First, I will say that as an author, I will write and publish in both digital and print formats. That’s not what I’m talking about here, though.

I’m talking about what I — and you — prefer to read.

In case you don’t know, I’m legally blind. I have difficulty reading small print, to put it mildly.

I love the feel of physical books. The crispness of the pages. The smell of a new book. The slight resistance of the spine when you open a book for the first time.

You get the idea.

The problem is most books don’t have large print. The ones that do are huge and awkward to read.

I love ebooks. I especially love that I can have hundreds of books on a device in my hand or in my bag. I don’t have to decide which books to take with me on a trip.

I love that I can make the print as large as I need it so I can read comfortably. I also like the option (in many but not all) for it to read a book to me if I’m doing something else or don’t feel like actually reading it myself do some reason.

With print books, I like that I can highlight passages or make notes in the margins. That’s not as easy to do with ebooks.

Do I think ebooks will replace print books? No. I think there will always be a place for both. I don’t think ebooks will ever fully replace hard copies of books.

At least, I don’t think that will happen in my lifetime.

What do you think? Will ebooks replace print books? Which do you prefer?