"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Saturday, July 25, 2015

I'm Posting a Day Early Because. . .

It's Christmas in July! that time of year when some of us are panicking because we only have five months left to make all those homemade gifts. Others are just beginning to make them and completely relaxed. So who will still be hooking away on Christmas Eve?

My advice? I tend to go by the KISS rule: Keep It Sweet and Simple. Along that vein, I leave you with a Christmas in July present for those oft forgotten fur babies. My roommate's kitten loves these things. So much so, that she keeps stealing my samples before I can photograph them.

Keep it Simple Cat Toy
by Laurie Laliberte Designs

This fun and simple project is a great pick-up gift to sell at craft bazaars or just to make for your favorite fur babies. I use a single plastic grocery bag to stuff the ball*, but a small amount of polyester stuffing works well too.

The design includes a reinforced chain with a finger loop at the end to make it an interactive toy, but many cats are just as happy to knock it around the house without any prompting from the people they own.

Finished Measurements:

ball, approximately 2" in diameter
string, approximately 12" long

Supplies Needed:

size G-6 (4.0mm) crochet hook
small amount of worsted weight yarn
small amount of polyfil or one plastic grocery bag for stuffing
small hook or yarn needle for weaving in ends

All instructions use American Terminology.


Round 1:  sc 6 in magic loop (6 sts)

Round 2:  2sc in each st around (12 sts)

Round 3:  [2sc in next st, sc in next st] around (18 sts)

Round 4:  [2sc in next st, sc in each of next 2 sts] around (24 sts)

Rounds 5-9:  sc around (24 sts)

Round 10:  [sc dec in next 2 sts, sc in each of next 2 sts] around (18 sts)

Note:  Now is the best time to stuff the ball, just be careful that you keep your stuffing inside as you close the ball.

Round 11:  [sc dec in next 2 sts, sc in next st] around (12 sts)

Round 12: [sc dec in next 2 sts] around (6 sts)

Continue sc dec until the top of the ball is closed OR close by stitching with a yarn needle.

Optional play string:  

chain 50, sl st in 10th st from chain and in each chain back to the top of the ball, end with sl st to top of ball, fo, weave in ends

*While this item is machine washable, if you choose to stuff it with a grocery bag, make sure you wash it in cold water and DO NOT tumble dry it.

Missy the Toy Thief keeps swiping my samples. I think I've made seven so far.

Merry Christmas in July!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Getting My Feet Wet Again

I walked away from blogging for a while. I was overwhelmed at the time. Work, home, health issues, were all taking up time and blogging was just an added stress I didn't need. Anyhow, most of the crazy is done with and I'm more motivated to blog since I recently jumped over the 500,000 page views hurdle. (I can't believe it.) I never expected my little blog to get so many hits. Granted, I'm no Bloggess; she probably gets that in a month, but I'm grateful for everyone who pays me a visit. 

Okay, ego stroking aside, let me drop off my poem (not suitable for children) and get back to real life for a bit until I can hit you again with a free pattern my newest roommate absolutely adores. 

Working for Free 
good enough to be your bitch
but not your whore
whores get paid
dangle that carrot and I follow
like a good little pony
shiny coat and obedient
but most important
willing to drop everything
to serve at your side
no matter what the cost

See you next week!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Say What?

Yes! I have been absent, first busting my butt on projects in the works, and there are plenty coming down the Pike... All are well worth reading, in various genres. I may or may not expand on these statements before this gets published.

Second, I've been sick, laid up off and on all winter, so something had to give for a while. Again, maybe I'll expand on that in the near future.

But at the very least, I want to leave you with some words of wisdom, a quote I just heard from one of my favorite sports celebrities. I think it suits how I'm feeling lately.
"There are only two things you can do when someone says you're not good enough: You can prove 'em right, or you can prove 'em wrong." -- Julian Edelman, 11

Have a great week, y'all!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Truly Epic Interview

Have you ever wondered what your favorite authors would discuss if you put them in a room together? I used to.But now, since I'm living the writing/editing life myself, I imagine that their topics of conversation would be pretty much the same as mine with my local writerly friends... Just like any other professionals who work in a common field, our conversations tend to veer toward work.

Sure, we have friends and families, good times and bad, problems and advice we all discuss, but the common bond that brings us together is literature. The writing of it, the reading of it, the breakdown, structure, grammar, passion, heartache, and joy of allowing it to consume us...

But if you want a more in-depth look at a discussion between two writers, you should take a look at this five-part epic interview. My dear friends Tony Healey and Bernard Schaffer sat down for a Q&A recently. Granted, it's more a one-sided interview than it is a friendly conversation, but Tony is a master interviewer, and Bernard is an excellent interview-ee.

It's well worth sitting down with a warm beverage and your electronic device of choice to get some insight into the mind of a writer. Huh. Maybe with enough views on the sight, we can convince the boys to start a regular vlog or hangout. Then everyone could pick their brains.

Until then, check out the interview and then stop by Amazon to check out their latest collaboration.

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Top Ten Writing Mistakes

I have been neglecting you all again, my faithful friends, and for that I apologize. It will all be worth it when You see what I've been up to. Some of it is still top secret, so I prefer to remain quiet on the whole bundle until I can speak freely.

I was fortunate enough; however (thanks to my pal Alex Maisey), to come across a fabulous blog post by a teacher of creative writing. So please follow this link and I'll be back next week.

Happy Writing!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Granola Helps Me Do My Job

I know it's a stretch, but hear me out. If not for granola, many (more) of my days would be wasted procrastinating by playing online and whatnot. We all have days when we simply can't focus. There's too much running through our minds; we're disorganized; we can't decide which job to tackle first. You know the drill. Heck, I'm procrastinating right now, just by writing this post. (Yes, it needs to get done, but I sh/could have waited until my editing work was finished for the day.)

Anyhow, most of the time, just by writing a to do list, I get a handle on my priorities and am able to rein in my overactive mind. But there are some days when "overwhelmed" doesn't even begin to describe it. Those are the days when I tell myself, "It's time to make granola."

It's not always granola. Sometimes it's whatever crock pot concotion I come up with when I realize the day is getting away from me, or I have too much to do in a short amount of time. You see, the crock pot becomes my timer, my count-down clock. It's a race to the finish. I know what I want to accomplish and I have an alarm that will go off when my day is done. No overtime; no excuses; no goofing off.

But granola is my secret weapon. When there's a batch of oats and nuts roasting in the slow cooker, I am forced to take breaks at certain intervals. I'm also forced to work in the living/dining room instead of at my desk. Why? Because the batch has to be stirred every thirty minutes, give or take, or it will burn. Just the change of scenery makes me more productive.

To make it easier, I work close to the kitchen. I get up when the alarm goes off, stretch my legs, stir the pot, reset the timer, then go back to work. I have yet to burn a batch. This gives me a quick stretch break, and gives my brain a rest for a minute or two. My recovery time is minimal because this practice does not afford me the opportunity to get caught up in a vacuum of social media.

Sure, an easy remedy would be to disconnect from the web altogether when I'm working, but I need access to online resources such as style guides, dictionaries, and various other searchable tools that allow me to verify grammar rules and research facts.

The granola timer also helps on days when there are household chores to do in addition to work. Yesterday, I edited about seventy pages, washed dishes (twice), dished out dinner for three (msg-free lo mein), prepped today's lunch, made three quarts of chicken stock, AND cooked up a big batch of Almond Joy-type granola (just enough chocolate chips to add some sweet, almonds, and a ton of coconut). Will you hate me if I mention I went to bed with a clean kitchen and did not work a minute past 6:00 p.m.?

Of course, now it's getting late and I think I'm going to have to throw some ingredients into the slow cooker just so I can feel I've accomplished more than a blog post today.

Happy Crock Potting!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pinterest Has Me Cooking Again!

Okay, truth be told, I never stopped. I just didn't have the time for posting about it. Some months, it's difficult enough for me to maintain my weekly schedule, let alone trying to post semi-weekly. Anyhow, I chose to take over Sunday's post for Pinterest recipes this week because the two I made this week were yummilicious and I had to share.

I'm going to begin with dessert since I make this one first, and well, dessert . . .

I really hope the blogger doesn't mind me borrowing her picture because this one didn't last long enough to take one. (I think that's a theme around here.) It was outstanding, and my roommates absolutely loved it. I, however, think it needed more oats, so I'll probably double the oats the next time I make it. Still, simple, delish, and by putting it together before dinner, I could throw it into the oven to bake while we ate. Perfect timing never tasted so good.

This is another with no picture. Sorry gang, but yesterday morning, when I made it for dinner, I couldn't predict I'd be out of the house when the hordes descended upon the slow cooker.

I have to admit, I took a few liberties with this one. First, it desperately needed pepper, so I added some at the end. Cooking pepper makes the flavor expand and you run the risk of making a dish too spicy, especially in the crock pot. Second, I used homemade chicken stock that I had in the freezer. It was left over from another Pinterest recipe that I will probably share my thoughts on at a later date.

But here's the kicker: By the time I got home, it was GONE! I walked into the kitchen around 2:00 a.m. to find nothing left of my chicken and dumplings but the broth. So I ladeled some into a mug and had an early morning snack. It was excellent.

Later, I found out the one of my roomies was wise enough to fill a dish and tuck it away so I could taste the fruits of my labor. It was even better when I had it for lunch this afternoon. And the rest of the leftover broth? We've been taking turns heating it up in mugs to stave off this unseasonably chilly weather.

So there you go, two tested Pinterest recipes that are definitely worth a try.

Happy Cooking!