Saturday, November 24, 2018

I have closed my Etsy shop, and I will not reopen.

Life hands gives us many challenges, and sometimes it takes it away from what we have worked for.  I have ran my Etsy shop for almost 10 years, and today I closed the doors.  I have no regrets. 

There are plenty of reasons why.  The most impactful one, is that I will be helping to care for a loved one for an undetermined amount of time.  I still work a day job, and am raising teenagers (!?!), I can only juggle so much!

With all that said......then comes all my yarn!!  I have a very large stash.  How will I ever use it all?
Charity crocheting has become my new purpose and new Outlet.  I will be donating to two local groups in particular.  Handmade Hugs Cowichan Valley and Cowichan District Hospital Auxiliary. 

It has become a win/win,  I get to crochet as much as I want and I get to help support my local community on a few different levels.  Items will be given directly to those in need, and some will be sold to support local programs and services within our community.  I could not be more in love with this idea.  I am never stuck creating the same items over and over, something that really became an issue for me.  Also, I can create baby, children's, and adult items without having to worry about branding....... 

Plus I can still support other Indie Designers by using and showcasing their designs on Instagram.  My user name is ArtofZen_Handmade, give me a follow! 

What I want to do most is spread love.  Crocheting has been my creative outlet for so long, I don't think I could ever stop.  I want to share that just as much as I ever have.  It has just taken on a new form with less pressure.

I also will be sharing free patterns here!  I am working on my first one now.
So stay tuned!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Free Crochet Pattern for a Chunky Cowl

 Chunky Cowl Crochet Pattern
I wanted to make a simple pattern for a cowl.  Nothing complicated but still beautiful.
Here is an easy pattern for a Chunky Cowl.  Only 3 stitches to use and you can easily add length, shorten or add width.  The Cowl I made measures 60" or 152cm long or around, and about 6" or 15cm wide.  I like the 60" length for cowls and it lets you wrap 2-3 times comfortably without too much bulk. I didn't turn at the end of each row, as I like the pattern it creates on both sides of the cowl.  But feel free to if you are inclined.  :)

Have fun!  Please post your projects on my ravelry when I get this up as I love seeing your creations and variations.  :)

Materials:  11.5mm or P hook if you don't have that size hook use a 10mm or N hook and add some stitches for length. To figure out your gauge, just use a measuring tape to figure out how many stitches per inch, and then multiply the number of inches you want by the number of stitches per inch. 
250 yards of worsted weight yarn or more depending on the length and width.
Darning needle
stitch markers or safety pins ( I use the little ones that stores using to tag clothing)

Stitches:  Foundation Half Crochet=fdc, or you can use a Foundation Single Crochet,  if you don't know either of these stitches then just use a chain, but do it loosely.
Half Double Crochet and Chain.  That's it!

Row 1:  Fhdc 90, without twisting, unless of course you want a twist in your cowl, join with slip stitch to first fhdc. I like to use the stitch markers every 20 stitches or so, then I don't have to go back and count!
Rows 2-10 (or desired width!): Chain 1, does not count as first stitch here and throughout, hdc in each stitch around, join with slip stitch to first hdc.
Fasten off and weave in ends.
This pattern is for personal use only.  Please feel free to share this pattern and you are always welcome to make to give as gifts or something special just for you!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sharing Creativity = Zen

I have to admit I have not been sharing too much on my blog but I have been working with a group of elementary school kids from my son's school, teaching finger knitting and crafting for the past 6 weeks or so.  I have been finding so many rewards in sharing, in watching others achievements, in witnessing all the ways we find "zen" when we create.  I am working with primary aged children so giving them a pair of knitting needles or a crochet hook and expecting them to catch on is not happening yet. 

Teaching the kids how to crochet with their finger or four finger knitting is so much fun and enjoyable for them!  It is fast, easy and immediately gratifying to the kids.  Within the first session they were creating, the length of their pieces grow and take shape.  I am hoping to be able to make some knitting spools with the kids and then make some other projects as we build their skills and confidence. 

Watching the kids catch on so quickly and settle into creating within minutes is an amazing thing to witness.  They share and help each other.  They all compliment each other on how well they are doing.  

I am looking forward to sharing beading, friendship bracelets, spool knitting, and even some small sewing projects with the kids.  

Everything is so fresh and amazing in the eyes of a child.  There is truly nothing more valuable you can give a child than your time and attention. 



Thursday, July 14, 2011

Its Summer!!!

Summer has finally arrived.  I have found my long neglected blog and maybe some time and energy to write something inspiring. Whhoohoooo!!!

Spring has really been a busy time for me this year.  And sadly it has not left me much time to write on my blog or dedicate as much time as I'd like to my Etsy shop.  There has been a lot of personal issues come up in my life that have really needed my attention and energy, I am trying to flow with that.  Dietary issues have been a major factor; gluten, dairy, soy and peanut intolerance to be more exact.  Both my eight year old son and I have be presented with the challenge of these intolerances, and although we've had a few bumps in the road both of us are quite happy with our diet and are adjusting into healthier and much happier Mother and Son. 

Spring is about New Growth, and that is something I have been very busy doing.  Its also about letting go of things that are no longer useful to you.  I have been doing housekeeping within myself and in my house.
Meditation and mindfulness have been two things I have been bringing into my everyday life.

Have I been crocheting up a storm?   Oh, yes!  I have been hard at work doing alot of things I never seem to find the time for in the Fall and Winter.

This summer I decided I was going to take more time for my family.  I am really not putting a huge effort into my shop right now.  My garden always consumes so much of my time too, not that I don't enjoy it.  :)  I also wanted to be able to just crochet when I felt the desire, I do often feel the desire, but if I wanted to not be held down by getting orders out on time.  This will also allow me to get ahead for the Fall/Winter season and have some items in stock and ready to go!!

Not to mention we have decided to add a dog to the mix.  The dog is 5 years old and in need of a loving family home.  We are pretty excited to have him join our family.  I will post pictures of him when he is settled in. 
Summer is leading us out doors for bicycle rides, hiking, camping, swimming, not to mention our garden.  So amongst all this busy energy I am finding opportunities to just enjoy the moment, and flow with life.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cycling into Spring............

I know its still cold out and the ground is covered with snow in many places but Spring has definitely arrived here on the West Coast.
I have found myself designing some new fingerless mitts lately, using some of the hemp wool blend yarn I dyed this winter.  I am also incorporating some the buttons my husband made from fallen tree branches off of our property.  I love the character they give each piece.  He cuts and sands them, and I polish them with orange oil and bees wax. 

The hand dyed yarns are so fun to create with, I love mixing and matching leftovers from other projects to make one of a kind items.

I am also working hand crocheting little appliques like leaves and such to add to my woodland collection.  Its a great way to use up any little pieces.  

Spring is a time for renewal, for letting go of things that are holding you back and down.  This could be anything, poor eating habits, emotional baggage that is not longer serving you, bad behaviors.  Learning to take a step back from the situation, calm down often time our perspective changes so much.  I used to think it was just better to deal with things right away, this isn't true.  Its healthy to calm down and collect yourself.  Getting emotional about situations only complicates things and mars your perspective.  

“It isn’t what happens to us that causes us to suffer; it’s what we say to ourselves about what happens.” -Pema Chodron

I have been finding myself mindfully breathing a lot lately.  This puts me in the Present moment, not thinking about how I did this wrong, or what I could've said better...etc. At any given point I will stop my monkey mind by breathing in peace and then breathing peace back into the world.  This is so detoxifying.   

I have found myself rediscovering songs that so inspired me as a kid.  Here is one of my Favorites:

True Colors by Cyndi Lauper

You with the sad eyes
don't be discouraged
oh I realize
it's hard to take courage
in a world full of people
you can lose sight of it all
and the darkness inside you
can make you feel so small

But I see your true colors
shining through
I see your true colors
and that's why I love you
so don't be afraid to let them show
your true colors
true colors are beautiful
like a rainbow

Show me a smile then
don't be unhappy, can't remember
when I last saw you laughing
if this world makes you crazy
and you've taken all you can bear
you call me up
because you know I'll be there

And I'll see your true colors
shining through
I see your true colors
and that's why I love you
so don't be afraid to let them show
your true colors
true colors are beautiful
like a rainbow


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Creative Cycles and the Winter Solstice.........

This winter more than ever I have been paying attention to cycles in my life, a new awareness so to speak.  I have noticed that like the plants and animals I have less energy in the winter.  Less energy to cope with stress, to be physically active, even to create.   At times I find myself fighting this nature.  Even though deep down I know that if the kettle is always boiling, sooner or later the water evaporates.
I do notice that I seem to be a in cycle of reflecting, on what I want, where I was, what happened, how I felt, I am practicing or putting ideas into practice.  I am hibernating, slowing down some.  This is ok.  I need to recharge my creative center, my soul.

I know that I go through times where I don't create anything new.  I make items that I have already mastered, just enjoying the repetition and zen like quality I get from something so familiar and simple, easy.  These are the times that I cherish as much as I do when I am exploring new ideas and experimenting. 
I cannot create and explore new ideas and inspirations all the time.  I cannot force them to come to fruition either.  The more I force them, the more stuck I feel.  These are times I need to retreat and find quiet, to rest with my ideas and nurture them.

How am I going to do this:  Eating warm and spicy food, walking, warm baths, meditating, just enjoying the slowness of winter.  Reminding myself daily that there is a time for planting, for growth, for pruning, for harvesting and for rest.
When I am creating I am making items that are not overly taxing on me.  Just sitting and cuddling with my children, reading books.  Cooking simpler meals even that I am not slaving over, but that are nourishing.

Being gentle with myself, understanding that I too need to have my cup filled once again.
That the things that really matter are the people I love in my life.  Not how much money I have, not how fancy of a car I drive, not the uber trendy clothes I pay too much for, not what I give people except, of myself.  My love, my attention, my acceptance, my understanding, my compassion, my laughter, my ability to listen, my hugs and kisses, my smiles, my tears, my silence, my dreams, my nightmares, my hopes, my fears, my strength, my grace, my kindness, my virtues.

My cup is really always full, I just lack the perception to conceive of it.

Shima and Shanti,


Monday, February 14, 2011

The Winner of Our February Giveaway is..............

Allison Lore.  Congratulations! 

Allison has won A set of her choice of Either Hemp or Organic Cotton Produce Sacs.

Thank you to all who entered and please look out for March's Giveaway!