My Upcycled Tee Shirt Obsession

I think that I may have mentioned before that I’m slightly craft ADD and usually have 10 ideas in my head at one time, none of which I actually have the time to work on since I’m probably crafting the ten ideas from 3 months previous. Back in 2011 I came to Middle Georgia (sounds like a place in a sci-fi novel doesn’t it?) for work. The first month or so my husband and I stayed in a room at Value Place (it’s an hotel/studio apartment type thing). To keep from going crazy I started crocheting around my old concert tees that I had saved from the 80s.

Sting Concert Tee

Once the holiday season is past, my Etsy sales are nonexistent, which is great for me because it means that I have time to experiment with designs (some not so good btw), learn new things etc. My latest “thing” is getting back to t-shirt  recycling  I am obviously a t-shirt hoarder and they (like my odd bits of yarn) must go somewhere other than a landfill.

Seriously, who doesn't love Tweetie Bird?

Seriously, who doesn’t love Tweetie Bird?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I made this cute pillow cover for my youngest who was in Marching Band  back in high school. It looks as though there is no crochet involved BUT – I did crochet a very long chain which i ran through the hem of the shirt to tie the bottom of the pillow – which makes the cover washable and reusable, I hope he’ll have it for years to come.

Upcycled tee shirt pillow

So there I was writing this awesome post and one half of it has disappeared. Arrrgh.
Anyway I was about to tell you about my new idea for naturalistas who dry their hair with or wrap their wet hair in a t-shirt (leaves your hair so much softer and less frizzy that a towel). It’s still just an idea/experiment. Here’s a sneak peak:
My upcycled tee shirt idea for naturalistas

My upcycled tee shirt idea for naturalistas

Visit my Etsy site for more of my repurposed tee ideas, unfortunately I don’t yet have the time that it would take to create AND create tutorials, but I hope to share some of my ideas in the future.Enhanced by Zemanta

Hair – it’s more than a musical

Understand that I am not my hair, I know that I’m so much more than that.

But let’s face it, my  hair precedes me, it’s what you can’t help but see when you look at me.

Hair is supposedly a woman’s crowning glory  and mine has tried to live up to that. The problem is I’ve never really been into the whole pamper thyself thing. I get my nails done once or twice every summer. I succumb to sporadic bouts of “must get to the beauty salon every Saturday”. And every once in a while I wear makeup.

Sometime within the past year I decided (once again) that I was going to stop putting relaxer in my hair. I used relaxers to …well, relax the curl in my hair so that I could do my wet and go thing that I’ve been doing for about 25 years now. My hair had started to do weird thing though, each day there seemed to me that there was as much of my hair on the shower floor and in my comb as there was remaining on my head. So I quit cold turkey, no winding down, no one last time for old times sake, I just stopped.

I’ve survived for almost a year now with no chemicals , but (since my hair is the first thing people see) I think my first impressions haven’t been all that great lately.  I’ve been discussing the whole natural hair thing with the girls at work, and we’ve been swapping products (which weigh my hair down or just feel kinda icky) and I see people online talking about twisting and pinning your hair at night so that you can have curly hair in the morning (which is too much work as far as I’m concerned), or buying expensive products that  will enhance one’s natural wave pattern.

If you are serious about going natural check out curlynikki.com, hairmilk.com, motowngirl.com, nappturality.com and youtube, there are a ton of videos there that will teach you everything you never wanted to know about going natural.

Anyway, one day  my co-worker said to me (for like the 3rd or 4th time) “if I had hair like yours…” and that’s when I realized I just need to  to love the hair that God gave me, take care of it  and let it do whatever it wants to do on any given day.

Howz your head?  I’d especially love to hear from you if you’ve done the natural hair thing . And if you are very good, tomorrow I’ll give a free pattern for wide headband  (at least it will hide the gray)

Oh, I did dye my gray though , cause that just got to be really annoying. Next i’m going to try henna

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My (Accidental) HandMade Life

Let’s get this straight – I am not a DESIGNER. I am simply an INTERPRETER of other people’s designs. Sure, sometimes I just make stuff up as I go along- but I wouldn’t call that designing, would you?

So anyways, last week I asked Anthony David if I could make him a fedora, and he said sure how about a gray one?

The model is cute but the hat, meh

So I ran up to Joann (cause I have about 99 skeins of wool and gray ain’t one) and picked up a skein of Patons in gray. I spent two nights crocheting a fedora and after I felted it…disaster…the brim was too short. My dear husband called it a chick hat. So I had a chick model it for me (my gorgeous niece Sydney) and while she rocked it like the super model she will someday be…I hated it.

I knew that I wanted something more but wasn’t sure what, and then one day, tired from a day of work but inspired nonetheless, I decided to try something. And here is the result:

The first in my Betty Davis eyes collection

 

When we first came to America, my sisters and I would stay up very late watching black & white movies. This hat reminds me of how glamorous  we women used to be – even with our skirts below our knees and wearing 3 to 4 layers of clothing in the bedroom we were SEXY.

So I guess you could say that I’m trying to bring glamorous and sexy back:)

Sorry  AD but maybe Algebra could wear the fedora instead?

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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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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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Mother’s Day Giveaway!

Red Sparkle Evening Clutch and Drawstring  bagMother’s Day is just around the corner and I wanted to do something nice for all of my readers.  You probably all know that  crochet a little bit and that  I also have an Etsy shop.  Lately I have been really into bags- clutches, backpacks, drawstring bags, hobo bags – you name it.

Well what woman doesn’t like a cute bag? So to save one lucky reader the trouble of purchasing too many Mother’s Day gifts, I have decided to give away one or more bags within the next two weeks. Here’s all that you have to do:

1. Visit my Etsy site and use the Share link on the right to Tweet about one of my items – make sure that you include #Niseylee in tweet so that I can search for it

2. If you don’t have a Twitter account, become a fan of my Crochet From The Heart page on Facebook, share one of my pics or items  and leave a comment on this post to let me know that you did.

3. Read and comment on at least one of my blog posts

4. Add a link to this post on your blog (if u have a blog that is)

5. On Saturday April 24th I will choose  someone to send a bag to, I will rinse and repeat on May 1 st, so be sure to participate both weeks!

I haven’t decided which bags to give away yet, but here are pictures of likely candidates (the two red sparkly bags on the top left are included). If you have trouble with any of the tasks please let me know!

img007621

picture-476 img00760 img00763
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March Madness Team Gear now available!

Are you a college hoops fan? Well I have been working on some cool stuff to help you support your team at a price that won’t eat into the Ramen noodles budget of most college students. Here is a sampling. Visit my site to order or leave me a comment.

niseylee.etsy.com

picture-216picture-259picture-238picture-234

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Applying The Four Agreements to Your Business & Life

The Four Agreements
Once upon a time I worked for a Fortune 500 company and was very unhappy. You see I was a dedicated worker who put in many hours and got the job done, but all anyone seemed to care about was my attitude!

Listen, I’m West Indian, we are born with attitude, we don’t sugarcoat things – not because we don’t know how to, but because we don’t know why we should lie when the truth is as plain as my very broad nose.

I live in the South and at the time felt unloved and misunderstood by my coworkers and managers; I wanted to be successful in my corporate career because I didn’t know any better. So my sister gave me this book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz and when I  read it something clicked. I typed up the four agreements and pinned them to the wall of my cubicle where I could see them everyday.

Did I become an overnight success? Did the CEO send me flowers? Did I get a big raise?  No, but that wasn’t the point was it? The point was to feel good about myself and radiate that out to those around me. In this I was successful, because I was able to separate what was about me from what was about them – most of the time.

If you are a network marketer or internet marketer or in direct sales, I believe that The Four Agreements should be a part of your life too.  After all we attract what we are, and if you are a lying, cheating so and so, or are afraid to pick up the phone, or can’t bring yourself to approach anyone about your business because they might say “No”-  well….

Be Impeccable With Your Word

Don Miguel says that by adhering to just this First Agreement you will create “heaven on earth” for yourself.  He also says that your word is the power that you have to create (for better or worse) the events in your life. Impeccable means “not liable to sin or  incapable of sin”. To be impeccable with your word you must “Speak with integrity, say only what you mean.  Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love “

I think that, for the marketer, being impeccable with your word  could also mean to not make outlandish promises or tell lies about your product, service or business opportunity.  You know things like “make money in your sleep”?

Don’t Take Anything Personally

The Second Agreement was and still is probably the most relevant for me. We are all narcissists to some extent and think everything is about us  and when you get into marketing you really start to take things personally – the person who says that yes they are very interested as they hang up the phone, or the one who lets you get halfway through a 20 minute presentation and then hangs up, or the guy who skips your meeting at the  Starbucks way across town (for which you used up all your gas for the week), or the Purchasing manager who says “I’ll take a look at this and get back to you” – and then doesn’t remember who you are when you follow up!  “Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering

The last two agreements will be discussed in my next post. If you don’t already own this book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, A Toltec Wisdom Book get it now and leave me a comment, let me know what you think!

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10 Last Minute Gifts For The Entrepreneur In Your Life

christmas gifts for the entrepreneur

We all know and love someone who is just cut from a different bolt of fabric. That kid we knew who actually found a way to make real money from her lemonade stand or the big picture guy who actually loves talking to everyone he meets about that weight loss product he discovered in college or the grandma who is supplementing her income selling cell phone plans! Having trouble choosing a present for your entrepreneur? Have no fear, I made a list for you:

1. For the newly minted (or firmly established) network marketer in your life , might I suggest the book  Your First Year in Network Marketing: Overcome Your Fears, Experience Success, and Achieve Your Dreams!

2. Entrepreneurs are naturally  motivated people and they stay that way by focusing on personal development,  but they don’t always sit still long enough to read a book. Give them one that they can listen to in the car, on the bus, or wherever they happen to be. Try one of Jim Rohn’s audio books such as his Jim Rohn’s 2004 Weekend Leadership Event or UPDATED Building Your Network Marketing Business 10 Copy CD Pack

3.  For direct sales entrepreneurs (bearing in mind that we are all always selling something) I love Brian Tracy, practical advice delivered in a straightforward way. I  have personally listened to this one about 50 or so times just this year alone The Psychology Of Selling: The Art of Closing Sales

4. Entrepreneurs love books  because they always want to know what the other guy did to be successful! You can’t miss with a good autobiography like who doesn’t want to know how Bill did it (not Clinton, the other one) Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime

5. Network marketers and those in direct sales guys always need fresh blood/ new people to talk to. A leads subscription is a  practical and useful gift that keeps on giving all year long! LeadOverage.com offers packages that start at just $9.99 per month, or check out Freesurveyleads.com for less than $100 you can get 400 leads every Monday morning.

6. If your little entrepreneur is always on the move doing presentations in supermarkets, coffee shops and parking lots then they will absolutely love a mobile internet package. This will allow them to stream video and audio presentations or   go paperless and sign up prospects on the fly by accessing their websites from anywhere. CLEAR offers a great package as do other companies. If you’re interested in Clear call me (814) 422-5327, or see what your local providers are offering this month (here in Atlanta they are all trying to compete with Clear and that’s good for you).

7. The on-the-go marketer needs a way to organize all of their advertising materials (flyers, brochures, postcards, business cards) , I like this Melie Bianco W9-330 Messenger,Blue,one size but am sure you can find something more fitting for your male or female entrepreneur

8. Speaking of advertising, hop on over to vistaprint.com and bag some free business cards, brochures, glossy postcards etc. All you will have to pay is postage!

9. Even entrepreneurs need to relax (I know it’s hard to get them to do it, they are so focused on that goal) at some point. For the gamer in your life might I suggest a gift card from GameFly.com. I got this for my son three years ago and have saved tons on video games, while he has been able to play hundreds of games fo rjust 14.95 per month!

10. This present can serve double duty – your entrepreneur can use it personally or as a give away in their marketing package. Restaurant.com offers discounted restaurant gift certificates – a $25 gift certificate for example for only $2-$4. There are some minimum purchase requirements and restrictions (like it doesn’t cover alcohol) but I use them and love them. They have a special today: GET $25 GIFT CERTIFICATES FOR ONLY $3!
Enter Discount Code: SNOW

Well I could go on and on but I won’t. What would you add to this list?

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