Wherein I Reminisce About Basketball And Baby Naming

20 years ago on a day not unlike today, The Woodchuck (well of course he wasn’t the Woodchuck back then, he was still just “Honey””) and I had still not selected a first name for the child were expecting.

We knew that his first name would not be Simon (family tradition be damned). The problem was that we needed a name that had flow ( I used to write poetry and The Woodchuck still had Tony Rock in his blood, so yes we needed flow), and were having trouble finding (OK agreeing) on  anything that would flow into Simon.

Looking back I can’t think of why we  agonized so much over a name. I mean , really I gave my oldest a majestic name “Rahsheen” what do people call him? Rah. What’s the point? Oh and did I mention that after all that agonizing, our little one once asked us -” why didn’t you give me a normal name, like Jonathan?”

So anyway, back to 20 years ago – Final Four (yes I know it’s not really called that once they get to the final two, I am obviously a horrible sports fan) is on (this is back when there was  one TV in the house and everyone watched what was on said TV), Michigan , North Carolina. I’m rooting for Michigan  (I don’t remember why, no). We’re discussing names still, Juwan – No. Chris? No. Jalen Rose – I had a teacher with the last name Rose when I was in Elementary School – wait – Jalen Simon – now that flows.

The Fab Five didn’t win that night (i think it was the night of the time out incident, I also think I mighta got teary eyed), but strangely enough – I don’t remember the names of any of the North Carolina players. Maybe the Woodchuck does.

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Pantone Picks Tangerine Tango for 2012

Pantone has chosen the color of the year for 2012: Tangerine Tango. Besides the sweet alliteration, Pantone says the spirited “reddish orange hue” will provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward in the coming year. Orange has grown in popularity with designers and consumers alike, and now it will get some time to shine.

“Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”

Tangerine Tango Crochet Beret
It will be interesting to see what designers come up with using Tangerine Tango. While it brings a bit of life and excitement to the party, it’s also extremely versatile and can be used in a conservative manner.  I am particularly fond of orange hues myself  and look forward to creating spring and summer items using various textures and shades of tangerine tango. Expect to see everything from hats and scarves to pillows and wedding accessories. Do you plan to add a splash of  Tangerine Tango to your 2012?
via Pantone

Now Faith is the Substance of Things Hoped For, the Evidence of Things Not Seen

I have two friends who are “going through it ” right now and I wanted to re-post this for them, it’s so important that we keep the faith yet it’s the first thing that we lose.

Someone reviewed my site on Linkreferral and said “I thought this was a make money blog”.  I’m not quite sure what a make money blog should do, but I know that I want my readers to leave my site feeling a little better, a little smarter and a little more inspired than when they arrived. I also know that you can make a little money by dibbling and dabbling in things, but persistency, consistency and the right mindset are going to make you a lot of money (and it won’t take 40 years of trying). So lets talk some more about faith; raise your hand if you think that Barack Obama is the POTUS because he “caught a break” or that Bill Gates is the richest man in the world because he “got lucky”, I suppose you also think that Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech” was just words on paper….hmmm

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1

What do the three men I mentioned have in common? They believed in something that:

  1. They could not see
  2. They had never seen
  3. No one in the entire world had ever seen

Yet here I am, a black woman, living in the boonies in the state of Georgia and I am not afraid, because Martin Luther King had a dream “that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”  And he dreamed it long enough and hard enough and passed it on to millions of people, and what none of them could even begin to  imagine back then, has  actually come to pass.

**Do you think that maybe some people thought that Bill Gates was crazy for dropping out of Harvard ( I mean it’s Harvard, people would kill to get in and he dropped out), and crazier still for thinking that we needed a computer on every desk ( to do what? our  math homework?). Do you think he might have had a naysayer or two or three?  Lots of people probably thought he wouldn’t amount to much, well he showed them didn’t he? Because here I sit in an easy chair portable computer in my lap, no wires,  communicating with people all across the globe.

Now even I thought Barack Obama was on a fools mission, but after I heard him speak a few times, I knew ( and I told my husband, so ask him cause I ain’t making this up) that this guy had read a personal development book or two, and I knew that he knew that to be successful you have to believe it before you see it.  I think we could all see that this man really believed it, and after a while he had a lot of people seeing and believing right along with him; and here we are with the first African-American POTUS ever.

*Faith is the place where each of these men of vision stood firm in their expectations while they proved to the entire world that which (even) they could not actually see.

What are your expectations? Whether you’re expecting to succeed or expecting to fail, chances are you will. As surely as the telephone was seeking Alexander Graham Bell and the light bulb was seeking Thomas Edison – opportunity is seeking you, but it won’t matter if you can’t see it.

Faith is where you should stand while you expect to make more money in a short period of time than you have ever made in a long period of time, even though your friends and family call you constantly asking “How’s that business of yours going?” and then they make a remark like “I guess I’ll get in it when I see you start making some real money” and then they go join someone else’s business, because  you would never lie to your family but a stranger would – but you’re not bitter, cause you’ve got faith and a future that you can actually see.

* I learned this from Myron Golden and it was so powerful that I just never forgot it.

**And yes I should mention Steve Jobs somewhere in here too, so here ya go visionary Apple guy who brought us the  Iphone, Macs (my first PC experience  back in college actually), and may have had some of his ideas pilfered (I dunno for sure).

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Transitions – Maria Shriver, JLO & Me

Gypsy DusterWhen the news broke about Arnold and Maria’s split I read where Maria Shriver said that she was going through a transition and had no idea what she was going to do next. I really did feel for her but couldn’t help thinking – “but you have money, lots of money”. Wrong of me, I know.

On another note I was saddened to hear that Jenny from the block had split with Marc Anthony – who is starting to look hotter and hotter now that he’s been paired with Jada on “Hawthorne”. But there’s still hope for everybody, it ain’t over til it’s over right?

Bet you didn’t even know I cared about such things. Well I don’t really, but how else to segue into my own tale of trial, tribulation and yes…transition.

Lets see in the past 2.5 months I’ve:

  • Been unemployed
  • Started a new job – 100 miles away from home
  • Lived in a hotel
  • Suffered through my Mom having a second  stroke , followed by pneumonia
  • Moved into a new place
  • Had a very large pine tree fall on said new place and lost use of half of the new place (including the kitchen)
I said very large tree didn't I?

I said very large tree didn't I?

So of course with all of that to occupy me ( you try packing up a 3 story 7 bedroom home while working in another city an dspending weekend sleeping in a hospital chair) I have been totally unable to  accomplish what I promised myself I’d get done this summer:

1. Blog more

2. Launch my line of upcycled tees

3. Crochet  and market a version of every single pattern in the  Double stitch twins book

Well finally some breathing room. I still don’t have a kitchen but I do love my new house and enjoy the parts that I can. What with moving a hundred miles away I did not have access to my favorite model Sara, so I had to delay launching my t-shirt line. However, we were finally able to connect yesterday and I was able to post several new items today – including the Gypsy Duster from “Designs for the Crochet Fashionista”.

My tee shirts were inspired by the bag of concert tees that I had saved since the 80s and some newer ones from my husband’s days as a musician and tour manager. I thought that upcycled tees might be a logical next step for me and look forward to adding sports tees, vacation tees, and tees with irreverent sayings.

I’ve also added new baby items to my Etsy site. So much crochet, so little time. This will be a busy month!

Check them out at niseylee.etsy.com

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When Crochet Is Like Real Life – Accepting the Need to Frog

Really Big bill

See the bill on that thing? It is so getting frogged

If I give it a lot of thought I start to see that I have been living the handmade life all of my life. My mother taught me how to sew at an early age so that I could make my school clothes,  There were 5 of us kids and  she was a single parent with a deadbeat ex, it was just cheaper to go to Pitkin Avenue and buy bags of fabric than to go to Korvettes or Mays and try to outfit 5 children for school. Or who knows maybe she felt about fabric the way I do about yarn – if it’s on sale it’s going in the cart LOL.

I recently took a cruise with all of my aunts and uncles and as my Auntie Vida showed me how to crochet with thread, I realized that each one of the women there had been instrumental in my “becoming”. Had they not imparted certain pieces of knowledge to the prepubescent me, I would probably not be as imaginative or creative as I am today ( or maybe I would still be imaginative but just not have the wherewithal to turn that into anything concrete). Anyway, thank you aunties (that includes you Verna) for giving me the building blocks of my handmade life.

Let me start by saying that I crochet just about all the time (when I’m not working or sleeping that is), this does some things to the body, I’ll tell ya. So I could say that lesson one is – work through the pain LOL. When I first started crocheting I lived in fear of starting over. I  absolutely dreaded  having to rip anything out once I had put time and effort into it – whether that time was one hour, one day, one week or one month.  Fortunately, over time I learned that no matter how far you’ve gone

*It’s OK to frog  and start over

Six years ago when I was laid off, I made several mistakes and miscalculations because I thought that I could not compete for jobs with smartass kids who were using laptops before they were potty trained. I was afraid that I was too old and set in my ways to be of value to an employer. Oh I did try, but one or two rejections was all it took to make me throw in the towel and accept the fact that I was obviously so not the sharpest knife in that drawer. In retrospect, I was fine, but really I was just afraid of having to start over with a new company, new technology, new co-workers.

Like Trinity in “The Matrix”, I’m not afraid anymore. I know that starting over isn’t the end, it’s just a new beginning. Starting over means giving yourself a chance to :

  • Fix a past mistake
  • Learn something new
  • Face your fear of the unknown
  • Provide a quality product (even if the product is yourself)

This knowledge has made me a better crocheter, a better worker, and a better person.

Are you afraid to frog? Care to share your story?

*Frog – rip it rip rip it

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Life Comes At You Fast

“It’s A Boy!” and “It’s A Girl!” gift sets

Now that I am making baby items , I was really happy when my nephew told me that I was going to be a great aunt.  Ever the businesswoman, I was excited at the prospect of a baby of my own to try out all of my items at the various stages of his life. Saturday evening I got a call that sent me rushing to the emergency room at Grady hospital in downtown Atlanta – there had been a very bad accident and my sister and my nephew’s 5 months pregnant girlfriend had bee injured. That night, while we sat awaiting word on their condition (they didn’t let us see either of them for almost 5 hours and that doctor that comes out to talk the family on TV shows? Well, that didn’t happen) my nephew told me that he never understood what “Life comes at you fast” meant…until that moment when his whole life just changed.

My husband and I discovered this about 5 or 6 years ago when I was laid off , his band was dropped from the label, and our son was ready for high school but we were not.  We moved to a nicer (read “more expensive”) locale so that my son could go to a good school (read “no gangs”) with hope in our hearts that we could make it all work. Well he graduates this year and we haven’t had to go on the dole, so maybe it’s all going to work out after all.

But who knew that life would be this hard? Here we are two educated and multi-talented people who never in a million years imagined that lows could be quite so low for quite so long. Thank God for giving us both a sense of humor and three great kids.

So a couple of weeks ago I challenged my husband to help me turn my passion for crochet into our retirement income. He rose to the challenge and came up with the  “It’s A Boy!” and “It’s A Girl!” baby shower gift sets for me to sell locally and on Etsy. It’s a start.

The young female  doctor told my nephew’s girlfriend that she’s young and can have more babies. I’m not consoled and I doubt that she is either. Life comes at you fast – and that’s the truth.

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The HandMade Life – What Inspires Me

You may think that those of us who live the handmade life just wake up each day grab a patter or project sheet and just go at it until some object emerges from our efforts. But that’s not really it, the days that I do that I frog (rip things out)  more than I create. What really inspires me is what my eyes see in the world. I know  that sounds kind of lofty and idealistic , I mean I still use a pattern sometimes but it’s the thing or event that  drives me to choose that pattern on that day that keeps me inspired to the completion of the project (and trust me I have a lot of UFOs [unfinished objects which I may or may not be able to identify later] to support that theory .

The UnaDrummer’s Driver Cap

The UnaDrummer's Cap

The UnaDrummer's Cap

Last summer when I was crocheting fedoras for my husband’s band, I asked the drummer when was he going to buy one of my awesome hats, he said when I made him a drivers cap in Pittsburgh Steelers colors. Well that wasn’t very inspiring at all (bright yellow and black I mean come onnnn already). So I put it off and put it off and then the other night I was feeling a little down (unemployed and unemployable and all) and I was watching Hustle on AMC (it’s one of my favorite shows  and if someone wants to send me the box set well…lol) and the pisode was about horse racing the caps everyone wore were just amazing and I put down the baby sweater I was in the middle of, grabbed some yellow yarn and my modified Lidsville pattern and produced what you see here. Hope Mr Unadrummer likes it. BTW you can find the original Lidsville pattern here.

The” Luther” Beret

I’ve liked Idris Elba since I first saw him as Stringer Bell in “The Wire”. A few weeks back I was looking for something to keep my ears occupied on a Sunday afternoon and found a Brit mini-series “Luther” which starred Mr Elba as a cop of all things! Anyway there was a pale redhead in this awesome beret that I just had to emulate.  I modified a pattern from Berroco I think and continued the cables to the forehead to create a similar look. The yarn I used is a European worsted that’s very thin so the beret is not as substantial as this one, but I’ll keep doin it until I get it right, LOL.

The beret

I just had to make this beret

My Luther Beret

This is my version of the beret

 

My Greek Columns Hat

One of my favorite stitches is the cross-stitch so I find that when I design my own items I inevitably include that stitch. I call this my Greek columns hat because it reminds me of the Parthenon or something like (I told you inspiration comes from strange places sometimes:) So that’s my story, what’s yours?  What exactly inspires you? Tell me all about it.

Greek Columns hat

It's the grey one on the left there or did I even need to tell you that?

 

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My Top 5 Reasons For Getting Out Of MLM PLUS: Crochet Drawstring Bag Pattern

The following is just my personal opinion/confession and is in no way shape or form meant to be a judgement of MLM or the wonderful people who are successfully working it.

  1. I had more questions than there were answers – and I’ll leave it at that because I am not writing this post to badmouth MLM. I’m just telling you why it’s not where I want to be.
  2. I got what I came for – not every road is the end of the road, some roads are just taking you to where you really need to be. MLM taught me a lot of things and opened me up spiritually and personally. So I got what I came for and was ready to move on a long time ago.
  3. Sometimes hard work doesn’t pay off because the wrong people are getting paid – and that’s my way of saying that I wanted my hard work to pay me. As things stood I had to share my residual income (which by the by is only residual if the business you brought in is still on the books, nothing from nothing leaves nothing right?) with my sponsor, her sponsor, her sponsor and the company. I knew that if I was going to take time away from my family to make money, then I wanted us to be the major beneficiaries. Not only that but I felt that the only people really benefiting were the ones who were speakers, teachers, or had some product that network marketers could use to “explode” their business in some way. Now those guys are making money for real.
  4. I found it impossible to balance working outside the home with working from home. This was unfair to my team and anyone that I added to my team. So I just stopped trying to recruit a team or bring in any new business
  5. I made more money crocheting and I didn’t have to make any calls – plus, I could watch TV while I did it. Nuff said. Now here’s one of my first  patterns, it is untested, but makes a really cute bag:)

drawstring-bag1

Hook size J

Red Heart super saver

 

2 strands held together chain 5 and join with sl

Color A – White

Color B – Pumpkin

 

 

Round 1- Chain 2 and 10 hdc in ring join to ch 2 with sl

Round 2- Chain 2 , 1 hdc in same stitch and 2 hdc in each hdc around join with sl to ch2

Round 3- repeat round 2

Round 4- Chain 2 , 1 hdc in each hdc around join with sl to ch2

Round 5- Chain 2 , 1 hdc in same stitch, hdc in next st *2 hdc in next st, hdc in next 2 st repeat  from * around join with sl to ch2

Round 6- Chain 2 , 1 hdc in same stitch, hdc in next 2 st *2 hdc in next st, hdc in next 3 st repeat  from * around join with sl to ch2

Round 7- This round you will reverse your work so that the right side will become the outside bottom of the bag. So turn the piece with the right side away from you and the wrong side facing you. Ch 2, working in front loop only for this row, 1 hdc in each hdc around join with sl to ch2

Round 8 -9 – Ch 2, 1 hdc in each hdc around join with sl to ch2

 

Now drop Color B and work the next 6 rows with Color A (1 strand only), work sc into the sc of the previous row

Round 10– Ch 2, 3 dc in next stitch (shell made,might change this),* sk 1 st, sc in next st , sk 1 st, 3dc in next stitch. Repeat from * around join with sl to ch2

Round 11-15 – Repeat round 10

 

At end of Row 15 drop color A, join color B

Round 16 – 21 – repeat round 10

 

At end of Row 21 drop color B, join color A

Round 22 – 27 – repeat round 10

 

Round 28 – Ch 4 (counts as tr + ch1)  2 tr in 2nd dc of next shell , *ch1, 2 tr in 2nd chain of next shell. Repeat from * around. Join with sl to top of ch 4. Fasten off

 

Round 29 – Join color B, ch 1, sc in each stitch around

Round 30 – Ch 1 , sc in each st around

Round 31 – Ch1 reverse sc in each stitch around. Fasten off weave in ends. NOTE: my reverse sc is – insert hook in sc, yo and pull through (two loops on hook). Turn needle 360 degrees, yo and pull through.

 

Handle (make 2 one in color A and one in color B)

Ch 100 or however long you want your handle to be (account for part that has to be sewn into the bag)

Round 1 – 2 dc in 4th chain from hook,* sk 1 chain, sc in next ch, sk 1 ch, 3 dc in next ch. Repeat from * around, fasten off.

 

Hold 2 handles together and sc in ea st around. On bottom of shells work an extra row of sc

 

 

Drawstring –  Chain 70 (or length you want drawstring to be) – dc in 3rd chain from hook and in each chain across (add beads if desired)

 

Sew handles to bag with whipstitch on both sides of the handle (you want it to hold). Run Drawstring through round 28 (triple crochets)

 

Line bag if desired.

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Keeping Hope Alive – Behind the White Noise and Shiny Objects

recessionAs you probably already know my recession started in late 2006 following a (in retrospect) bad decision on my part to accept a new position in another division of my company. I was let go and then I had to learn how to let go:

  • Of resentment
  •  Of anger
  • Of fear
  •  Of material things (like my house and my car)
  •  Of the past

 

Four years later, even though I have worked several decent paying gigs:

·         my bank account is light

·          if you ask a financial adviser they’ll tell you that my retirement plan is looking a lot like a job as greeter at Walmart

·          I don’t remember what an annual physical or mammogram is like because I belong to one of those (insert number in thousands or millions depending on your party affiliation here)  people with no health insurance

·         I do not possess a credit card or a high credit score

And you know what? I’m fine with all of that. Every day is a beautiful day, a blessing to be cherished. I appreciate what I have and what I can actually afford to buy [I bought my son a laptop and paid cash, I was so proud when I realized what I had done]

 

So, Where are YOUR Bootstraps?

 

And I’m telling you this because….

  1. I want you to know that no one is going to come and “fix” your personal economy. Once you get far enough away from a steady income and deep enough into debt, it’s a long road back
  2. I want you to realize that you can’t blame the government for your situation, then say the government is too big, and then blame the same government for your situation – yes I repeated myself, reading it makes as much sense as doing it does.
  3. I am slightly angered by corporate sponsored candidates who will tell you that if government stepped out of the way, companies would step in and take care of the “community”. Bullshit, is what I say. Why aren’t they doing that already? There is no legislation stopping these companies from taking care of the community now!  So why would you believe for even one moment that the people with the real power (jobs) to turn the economy around, who have not exercised that power, are going to make things better if they gain political power. Yeah they’ll make things better – for them.
  4. I tripled my yearly earnings under Clinton, lost everything under Bush, and gained some of it back under Obama. But I’m not assigning credit or blame to any of them, because this is my life and my responsibility, and it’s my hard work, foresight, intuition that causes me to gain or lose. I want you to stop blaming the wrong people for where you are. As a matter of fact, I want you to stop blaming altogether, that’s a lot of your spiritual power that you’re giving away there.
  5. I’ve learned that if you turn off the external noise – friends, family, media – and turn inward to the place in you where God is – he really will make a way where there is no way. I have never considered murder–suicide – not mine, not the President, not my family – as an alternative. You see I know that in 10 years, the past 4 years or so  will be just that – the past, and life and the world will have moved on and the angry people will find someone/something else to be angry about, and I’ll be living and crocheting in Europe (which is a dream of mine and honestly nothing personal against y’all).

 

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Maybe It’s Time To Come Clean

colonix

It’s not what you think, I’m not going to reaveal any affairs with Ashton Kutcher or even Denzel….

A few weeks ago I received an email from Diane at Dr Natura, asking if I would like a free sample of their product. Well if you know me and my love of “free” anything then you probably already know what happened next. When the box arrived I was impressed by the fact that there were two 30-day supply boxes of Colonix, their cleansing product.

 

After reading the instructions I will admit to being disappointed that the box did not also have some Toxinout, since it is included in the daily schedule and has a product that protects your colon from the stress caused by laxatives.

 

 

Here is the information on Colonix from the Dr Natura website:

  • The Colonix® Intestinal Cleanser is a fiber supplement that cleanses the colon of accumulated toxic build-up. Colonix contains both soluble and insoluble fiber and it keeps the digestive tract from getting clogged up with mucus, toxins and metabolic waste. It helps to keep the colon clean and waste matter moving freely and efficiently by creating a spongy, gelatinous mass in the bowels. By swelling and absorbing fluids, it breaks down and moves toxic waste matter stuck in the folds and crevices of the colon.
  • The Paranil capsules contain 18 detoxifying herbs that have been successfully used for many years by naturopaths and other health professionals to purify the colon and liver. It is powerful yet safe and well tolerated by adults.
  • The KleriTea herbal tea for Regularity and Detoxification works in synergy with the Colonix fiber by ‘kick-starting’ bowel movements in the morning while maintaining regular movements during the day. It has a crucial role in assisting in the detoxification process. It also has a soothing effect on the nervous system, making it an ideal beverage before bed. It contains no caffeine.

 

Diane asked me to try the product and write about it on my blog. I thought that was a little bit risky, I mean – what if I hate it? Or it doesn’t work for me per the 2000 testimonials on their site? But I also think that it’s the kind of move that you only make when you believe in your product.   I am starting the program in earnest today (I have used the tea in conjunction with my Flush and gotten some awesome results) and my only fear is that I can’t do the tea each night because I won’t make it to work each morning.

 

I will report back in a week or two about my results.  

 

Have you tried Colonix or Toxinout? Did they help the problem you were attempting to solve?

 

To learn more visit www.drnatura.com, and no, I am not a rep of the company nor am I acquainted with anyone who is.