The Top Ten

Here is something that has not happened in the annals of the Top Ten List. I have had repeat artisans on different lists but I do not think I have ever had multiple items from the same artisans on the same list…

until today..

Golden Earrings by Unquiet Design
These are stunning. Heidi has such an eye for putting together vintage and non-vintage items and making some truly beautiful work. I already own a pair of her earrings and the ONLY reason I don’t own these is so you can see them. You may thank me later.

Wheel In the Sky earrings by Unquiet Design
See above – these are so lovely.

Do Not Rest On Your Laurels by Unquiet Design
I used to have this obsession with earrings. They are my favorite piece of jewelry. The items in this shop may awaken that sleeping beast!

Little Painting by Chicago Jewels
This is actually a pendant but it has a very unique something that i can imagine wearing it with any number of scoop necked sweaters.

This is such a bright and happy object – I would not pay the asking price but maybe someone would and I think it’s worth taking a look.

Breezy took me up on my offer to be a guest blogger and sent me a wonderful post. Stay tuned because it will show up on the blog soon. For the rest of you, please feel free to write an entry and send it to me via email and you, too, can be a guest blogger!

Obviously you are going to need some God sent or man made construction to keep the dress up but overall almost any figure will be flattered with this dress.

Copper Earrings by Peacock Beads
I love the color and I love the shape!

Art Deco Moth Pendant by Chinacherie
This is a beautifully crafted piece and I would love to have it!

Tote It by Loop the Loop
I have to carry the jewelry in something and it might as well be something this cool!

Lace Hoops by sweet findings for you
Seriously? You had to ask?

This will have to serve as my earring fix. I didn’t know this many earrings would be on the list – you’ll just have to deal with looking at beautiful, colorful, shiny objects of handcrafted goodness!

Please support local artisans in your area so they can continue to share their craft with the world!

The Secret Life

Am I the only one done with ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager’? It started out as an interesting concept and has now dissolved into a farce with really bad acting. One teenage pregnancy would be enough but the little circle of friends now has another teenager pregnant. (Why don’t they just make a pregnancy pact so we can have it all over with in one season?) I suppose it’s going into the abortion/adoption/keep the baby drama but I can’t get over the stale writing and the bad acting. And I find the Ashley character terribly annoying and don’t know anyone who has a teen like that or anyone who lets a teen act like that and if any of the creators have a kid like that or lets their kid behave like that well, then, it should be kept a secret.

I am not so far removed from high school (or reality) that I didn’t know there were pregnant girls in high school; there were, but seriously, I can count the conversations about sex my friends and I had and still have most of both hands left over and some of us were active.

And why aren’t those kids ever in class? They are never in class. They’re always in the hall maybe if they had a class they’d get their minds off of sex. Perhaps gym class would be a good place for all of them.

OK, enough of standing on that particular soap (opera) box. On to the important stuff...like knitting projects. I’m taking a little breather from the granny square afghan. I have 14 squares to go on that and will finish it this week so I can mail it off. The stash bust is still on so I am making another square afghan inspired by one I saw in a book. It uses knit, crochet and sewn squares. I don’t have the sewn squares but as you can see by the stack on the left, knit and crochet I have. It looks like it’s going to be mainly blue, but that’s just because you can’t see the yellows, purples and other colors that are in there. Also, it’s supposed to have 42 squares and I’m up to 17 so I still have some ways to go and I and certain I will run out of the purple skein I am working on and then there’s this buttercup one waiting in the wings.

I don’t know if this has happened to you and maybe it’s just something playing in my mind but have your ever started a skein, made all sorts of things with it and the skein just never dies? That’s how I feel about this purple skein. I’ve made five squares so far and it was a skein that had already been started so something else was made with it and I can’t tell when this puppy is going to end. The same thing with the blue skein I was knitting with before this. No wonder my stash is so big.

Here’s another thing: showing some love for the crochet. Yes. I look forward to making the squares. I even started a crochet afghan until it frustrated me. It gets the same hook knitting gets – I will start over three times and if I don’t make it to the end, I move on to another project. I have made a crochet afghan before – within the past few years but nothing since then. I will make it one day because I’m loving the crochet.

Don’t worry – knitting still rules. More variety. More diversity of stitches. But crochet is faster (and you know I need to be faster.) Now, i know you crocheters out there will say there is a great deal of variety – OK. I have yet to discover how diverse the stitches can be, but I do have a crochet stitch guide by the wonderful Erika Knight so I am certain to find out.

In the meantime, I have to and reschedule the DVR to take off that show that could have been so useful and now is just dribble – and then I have more work to do!

No Rest for the Wicked


I contemplated taking the afghan out of the bag and then taking the photo to show you how nice it is. It’s very close to the wedding afghan I made before but not quite as big. But getting it into the bag was a bear and I didn’t want to take it out just to put it back. This is a gift for someone so I figured I could take a picture of the recipient and the gift and then they could try and get it back into the bag!
It’s another blue afghan and it consists of twenty squares and it’s 4×5 (or 5×4 depending on how you hold it) and the squares are 12″ so it’s about 48×60 a nice cozy size.

I was looking into what craft shows I can enter in and my goodness, the booth fees at some of these places! I haven’t run into on that is less than $100. I thought I might try and drop in one or two of them – but I don’t think I can. I have to plan this for next year! In the meantime, I really have to get my show established so artisans can have a more affordable place to exhibit and sell.

The problem I’m running into is finding the audience. I know when we do the Pleasant Home show we have a nice crowd the first day but the rest of the week, including the next weekend, is a little slow. With the small amount of shoppers, I can’t get vendors. My thought was to go strictly charity fundraising and offer the show as a way for Not For Profits to raise money. I organize the show, they get their donors there, and the vendors give 10% percent of what they make. There would be food and give aways (no raffles in the Methodist church).

With the fees the way they are, vendors will need to find relief somewhere. why not feel good and raise money while doing it?

In any case, I am not ready to give up on the idea of a successful craft show so I have to figure out what I’ve been doing wrong. I will hang in there a little longer. For the last show, I got some of the people I went after getting but not enough – and it didn’t help that the power was out in half the city – including the power going out in the church.

Maybe God’s trying to tell me something…

Small People


In the interest of full disclosure, Mr Honey and I used to own BP stock. He sold it very recently because he saw where the situation was headed and wanted to get us out of it while we could still make money…that being said..

I am so NOT mad over the ‘small people’ phrase the BP chair used. C’mon y’all, you know what he meant. Between the stress of the situation and the language barrier you know he didn’t mean small as in insignificant. I would bet money he and the President were talking about the small business owners and that got turned into small people. Should he have been more careful? Sure. But I don’t believe he meant an insult.

I am also not mad about the US chair of BP ‘wanting his life back.’ I wish he had his life back, I wish we could go back and not have the whole thing happen, everyone affected wants to have their life back.

I am irritated at Elizabeth Hasselback on The View who seems to be taking an eerie kind of delight in trying to compare the oil spill to Bush’s handling of Katrina as a way to snip at the President. She’s saying he made promises eighteen months ago and he did nothing. Unless that rig was put in on the day President Obama took office, don’t hand out that crap. It still would have blown and it would still be something we weren’t prepared to deal with.

Look, we weren’t watching. We weren’t questioning. None of us did. We weren’t concerned about regulation because we didn’t think about it. There were other things on our minds. We were concerned about the economy. We were concerned about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We were concerned about Sandra and Jessie.

But we weren’t thinking about there being a spill bigger than the Valdez…because we didn’t think there would ever be another spill like the Valdez let alone several Valdez’.

Of course this is BP’s mess to clean up and we need to make sure it doesn’t happen again but that’s going to take time. This disaster has opened up questions for me. Questions that have everything to do with oil drilling but nothing to do with this event.

We take oil out of the earth – and what does that do to the earth? Are we collapsing the walls of the earth because we are taking something out but not putting something back. So if oil is between two pieces of slate and is removed, what does that mean for those two pieces of slate? We’ve obviously been doing this for decades – do we know what we’re doing?

I want the government to look into it but I can do without Senators and Congressmen acting out – they weren’t watching, either. In fact, it might be worth looking into regulation legislation to see exactly what they thought and what they voted for. To hear some of them, it was like they were warning us against this all the time and we weren’t listening to them.

They can stop handing out that crap, too.

Why is it taking so long? A guy I knew in college, an atheist, asked me once if God could build a rock so big that God couldn’t move it? If you answered ‘yes’ then he said God couldn’t do everything and therefore God didn’t exist. If you said ‘no’ then God couldn’t do everything and God didn’t exist.

Well, the question itself is moot because we know there are things God cannot do. God cannot deny His grace. God does not lie. God does not cease to love us. God has put in His own limitations so whether he could create that rock or not doesn’t disprove God.

Man, on the other hand, can create things he cannot move. He can create things he cannot fix. That’s why this is taking so long. We created it but never created a solution to a problem because we never thought it would be a problem.

But it is. So we need to come up with a solution and we all need to know that while BP is the one who is in front of the mess, we all have something to do with it and it will be that much easier to create the solution if we stop creating the blame.

One Moment Please


I’m having a moment. Actually, if I were having just a moment, I would probably be writing about something else – but I am having several moments and that’s why there’s no photo of anything over there.

I have a craft show this Saturday and I haven’t yet checked to see who is coming. I may have just five vendors – I may have fifteen. My mind has been a blur of all kinds of activity and because we took two trips (Milwaukee and Pittsburgh) I have an four day lag. (I am going to blame it on vacation and not on my normal scatterbrainess.)

The wonderful Elizabeth sent me a wonderful email with feedback for the craft sales which I answered and then noticed sitting in my draft email because I didn’t send it.

Sigh.

You gave me some great ideas Liz (some of which were already incorporated) along with some other things to plan for.

The season of sermons should be over so I don’t have to write any more in the foreseeable future. We are getting a new pastor and I will meet her soon and see how my role changes.

Mostly, I have to make myself understand my top priorities and I have to put them in some kind or order so I don’t make myself crazy: Health and Mr. Honey followed by the knitting/crochet thing for the balance – everything else is just gravy and gravy doesn’t taste good by itself.

I don’t know how you organized folks do it – I wish I did. It would also help if I overcame my natural laziness. I was born to have servants. Unfortunately, I was also born without the money to have servants so it’s a vicious circle.

OK, I need to bring my brain back – take a few deep breaths and get back to the routine that worked. I made myself stay in bed for six hours (went to bed at 3 this a.m. and told myself I could not get out until the first number on the clock was a 9.) Read the first chapter of 2 Maccabees (the things we praise God for!!) and opened my schedule.

So far so good – now if life just doesn’t interfere I should be able to get to completing the two special projects I have and getting Saturday ready.

How the heck does Martha do it?

Top Ten List

First, THANK YOU Carol for offering to try and find the toll taker on the turnpike to let her know how to get my afghans! I can ask Mr. Honey where we were and get back to you!!

I know it’s the middle of the week, but I feel the need to show you ten things I’ve run across on the Etsy sites!

Paris Flower Market
by Rebecca Plotnick
I like photography – it’s left and right brained. Sometimes my eye isn’t so good so I appreciate work that has impact and this photo does.

love by Noodle and Lou
What I love about this (and the other works) is that it looks simple enough that you think you can do it, but then you know better. I love the simplicity of Jenn’s work.

Miniature Gyros by Allieminis
It so cute! Mr. Honey gets a gyros plate from one of our take out places. If I had a reason for him to need this, I’d get it for him in a second. Cute stuff!!

Purple Chalcedony Earrings by Westbyron
Silver and purple – c’mon now! If they were bigger they’d make the list twice!

Milk Glass by Sunny Day Vintage
I can see this sitting in the middle of the (cleaned off) dining room table filled with Christmas ornaments during Advent or small balls of yarn at other times during the year – heck, even at Advent!

Shout out to follower: Melissa Smith – she reads a whole host of blogs (some I may even have to check out!)

Again, for those artisans who make my Top Ten lists, they can have a free 4ft space at one of the Craft Cafe sales or the 8ft space for $15 (normally $25.) They just have sign up with a notation that says the Top Ten and they’re in!

Let’s finish the list…

Rose and Antique Earrings
by kateemarie
Honestly, I went over to the PayPal account to see if I had some extra $$ in there so I could get these before you did. Since I’ve cut my hair, I like bigger earrings and these are 1/2 inch too short – but these are beautiful!!

Juggling Balls
by all kinds of stuff
They’re on the list for exactly the reason you think they are.

Blackhawks Toppers by milestone memories
I was a hockey fan before the strange Wirtz took them off the air. I was watching the last game of the final and yelling “It’s a goal! It’s a goal!” before most of the players knew what was happening. (Yeah, that’s right, I’m bragging!)

Tear Stamp Earrings by Foxglove Accessories
That no two pair will be exactly alike and they are funky without being chunky get them on the list!

Humility by Uniquery
Why is this cute fella sitting in the corner and what kind of oowie does he have?

There you have it! Did you notice there wasn’t tote bag on the list? I actually didn’t run across one before I hit the magic ten – though I did see some bags.. I hope you go take a peek at what’s out there and around you. There’s some great talent waiting to be discovered!

Be My Guest

I know from my follower’s list that there are at least 50 of you out there (and for every one who follows, there has to be at least 1/2 who reads and don’t follow and another 1/2 who read but don’t comment, which would mean there about 75-100 of you) and I want to hear from you.

In fact, I want you to be a guest blogger on my blog. I want you to tell us why you’re a crafter or what crafting brings you or how it impacts your life and your household. I want to know your favorite thing about your craft and stuff like that.

I want to know what you read and where you shop and how knitting has (if it has) affected other aspects of your life – like you find yourself really liking that knitter who is a (gasp!) Democrat.

I know some of you have your own blog and I think it would be nice to have your readers take a peek at you in some other forum.

So go ahead and write the blog post you’d write if you were a guest on your own blog and send it to me at blbochenek@earthlink.net. I’d love to hear from you and about you and I think the other 99 of us out here would too.

Four Down, Eleven To Go and a Surprise Knit Tip

I don’t know when I first got the idea we should visit every National League Baseball Park but I know it’s been something we’ve been working on. It’s going to take us a while because I think we don’t have to do more than two a year because, frankly, baseball tickets can be expensive depending on where you go. We’ve done four out of the fifteen and I count that as kind of a good thing. We are going back to the ones we visited – which is another reason why it’s going to take a long time to accomplish the goal – we’ve enjoyed all the parks so far. They each have their own high points.

This year, we went to Pittsburgh – as you already know – and Happy and I saw PNC Park for the first time. The Pirates have been playing there since 2001 giving up Three Rivers Stadium for the new downtown facility. And it really is downtown. It is across the river from the hub bub of downtown but downtown is visible from any seat in the park. The other thing visible from our seats (and most seats) is the beautiful Roberto Clemente Bridge – also the 6th Street Bridge (shades of Simon and Garfunkel for those of us old enough to know Simon and Garfunkel.) The thing about the bridge is that it was built in 1928 far before anyone even thought Roberto Clemente would be a great ballplayer let alone a humanitarian who be killed in a plane crash so the city renamed the bridge in 1998. It’s one of three almost identical bridges and is a great view from the park. You’ll be able to see it in some other shots because there are stories to tell about going to ballparks and how you make friends with those around you. We’re already considering where we will go next: Washington Nationals in D.C. – we have family in Baltimore so that could be cool. Coors Field in Colorado – brother lives in Denver. Chase in Phoenix ( sister and brother there)
or Houston.

Next week, we make a return visit to Miller Park to see the Cubs play the Brewers. Love that park and love the food! The food at PNC was OK.

But guess what I discovered? I didn’t pack a suitcase just an overnight bag (OK I packed by Disney big tote bag!) Coming back home, I threw my soap (yes, I brought my own soap) in it’s plastic bag into my knitting bag and when I got home and pulled out my yarn, it smelled like my soap – nice and fresh! Never occurred to me that it would do that but now I am keeping a small bar of soap in my knitting bag to keep the fibers fresh. I will be using the non-perfume kind because I sell my stuff and I don’t want to cause problems, but what an easy way to freshen up the fibers especially during the hot months when humidity can play around with yarn.

What a great little bonus!

On The Road

So, Happy Hook wasn’t just along for the ride. There was work to be done while on the road to Pittsburgh. We started this as part of the blue square afghan we’re making – it’s a special order afghan I need to have done in a couple of weeks so there was no time for idleness.
It’s going to be a simple square of single crochet through the front loop. I purposefully made it a little narrow because of the stretch. It was started around Wolf Lake in Indiana and we worked on it pretty steadily until it was time for me to drive.

So, I drove for about three hours and then Mr. Honey took over again and this is how far we got while he drove the first time:
I think we were in Ohio by then – close to the Penn Turnpike an hour later, while on the open road, the square was finished. We were definitely in Penn then because there was a woman at the turnpike that wanted to know what I was making and said she bought afghans and Mr. Honey pulled off before I could reach in my bag and give her a business card, but then said five minutes later – ‘Too bad you didn’t have a card to give her.”
Yep, too freaking bad. The whole trip from Chicago to Pittsburgh
took almost exactly nine hours and that was stopping twice for meal and potty breaks. Not bad at all – especially considering we got ourselves turned around in downtown Pittsburgh and didn’t know where we were going. It was just luck (God) who took us to the right place for us to find our way.

There’s more to tell you about the trip (ball park, yarn stores) and I will make sure to drop the goods on you cuz I know that’s what you’re really interested in but let me say I enjoyed the road. Yes, flying is quicker, but traveling by car is a real treat.

The Bridge to Somewhere

I used to have this dream that I was driving across a bridge and I was scared to death because I could see the water below on either side and it was a big, scary bridge that didn’t look at all stable and it wasn’t a bridge an inexperienced driver like me should be driving across.

I remember having this dream many times. I would be in my car and I would drive across the bridge. Then I started driving across the bridge on purpose just so I could prove I could. It was a real bridge and I knew where it was.

Here’s the thing: I don’t know if I really did it in real life. I got my driver’s license late in the game – after high school – OK, after college – and I remember going out of my way to go on streets I thought were scary and I think I went across that bridge every day for a week. I think I did, but I’m not really sure. In any case, this isn’t that bridge and I don’t know where that bridge is any more – which makes me believe I really didn’t do it. But I know I drove across it in my dreams many times. And this bridge in the photo didn’t scare me at all.

There’s something really cool about driving across country – or half country as it were – when we were kids my folks used to pile us all in this old Rambler station wagon with the carry all in the back where two of us would lay out and three of us would be in the back seat trying to avoid getting the bump in the middle and the folks would be up front. Mommy would fry up a couple of chickens and pack it up with a loaf of bread and when we got hungry we would stop and eat the bread and the chicken with some pop. (I now say soda; pop sounds so funny.)

At some point, we would pull over on the side of the road and sleep. My father was the only one who had a license. My mother didn’t get hers until she was 40 – so I came by it honestly. And the rest of us weren’t old enough to drive.

I offered that idea to Mr. Honey – that we get some chicken (fried chicken is one thing I have yet to master but I am perfectly capable of going to some place that fries it for you) and we could stop, get some cold sodas and eat in one of the rest stops but he wanted to purchase food. The next time we’re going to do it my way for at least one of the stops. We’re going to pack a little food, stop and have a little roadside meal. It probably won’t be as romantic as I’m thinking but I bet there will be a new romantic that I haven’t thought of. We can go retro for one time and then step in the modern world for the rest of the stops.

It will be a tribute to my family’s road trips to Louisiana to visit my folks’ folks. I just remember it being a fun time. I was innocently ignorant of the fact that my folks didn’t have a lot of money and because it was the early sixties and we were black folks traveling to the deep south that there were probably not many places that would have served us anyway.

We’re talking about driving to Washington D.C. My sister lives in Baltimore and the Washington Nationals are there. I’ve done that drive with my folks – it’s about 18 hours and I think we could do it in less time than that. It wouldn’t happen this year but it’s something we’re looking at for next year.

Plenty of time to learn to make fried chicken.