Saturday, March 23, 2019

Make It in a Day-Stylish Coasters Digital Book Review

Annie's Crochet Make It in a Day Stylish Coasters
Annie's Crochet "Make It in a Day- Stylish Coasters"

I am so blessed to have the opportunity to review the "Make It in a Day- Stylish Coasters" by Annie's Crochet. I will make sure I link* to all the goodies I used so you can easily find them and get started making ASAP!

When I got the digital copy of my book  I immediately noticed how bright and lovely it is. Right away, I knew there were two particular patterns from the front cover that I just had to make first. Now don't get me wrong, all of the patterns are super cute. As a matter of fact, there are several adorable patterns that will carry you through summer, right into fall, that they don't even show on the cover! But the basket of flowers and the sheep coaster stood out as the two I just had to make right away. 



I had a fresh, new pack of Paintbox Aran Cotton  yarn in the Scribbles colorway that was just crying out to be used. So I started with the sunflower coasters while I was listening to some webcasts online. This little pack of yarn is a fantastic bargain. It comes out to under $3/ball and they seem to last forever. You will get quite a few projects out of these. As you can see by the following picture it will take me a bit to use all of them up. Of course, they have the balls available separately as well. 


Picture from "Make It in a Day- Stylish Coasters"

This is a great little pattern. Seriously. It's very simple in construction and instruction. It's only four rows and most of them are simple single or double crochet. The most challenging stitch is going to be the trc cluster to make the sunflower petals, and they have great instructions to make sure you understand how to do it. The basket also works up quickly, and it really does hold all 8 of the little coasters. Such a cute and fun design to brighten up your Summer table! OR do these in fall colors for an adorable Back to School gift for teachers!! Man, now I wish I had school-age kids again...


The second pattern I wanted to do was the adorable little sheep coaster. I mean, look at that face (that I accidentally sewed on crooked- watch where you put its eyes- it matters. lol).

Shout out to my local small business yarn store Dixie Knits in beautiful Downtown Pensacola.

Even with its crooked little face, it's still super cute and I'm going to use him on my desk as my coffee mug coaster. 

Once again, super easy pattern. The only tricky spot was the head. You'll want to remember that when you make the ears treat the chains as stitches. That's all I'll say about that. *wink*

There are patterns that you can use for Easter, Spring, Summer, and Fall...so you are definitely getting a bargain for your money. There are pears, strawberries, and apples. A few of those have matching basket patterns. And there are patterns in both circles and squares, some solid colors and some with multiple colors. There is enough of a variety that you should be able to stay interested for quite a while. This is where you can find the book (available in both hardback and digital formats)  and this is where you can find the Paintbox yarn (LoveCrochet.com has awesome customer service and quick shipping). Thank you to Annie's for their generosity in allowing me to review this book for them!


*Some of the links contained on this webpage may be affiliate links which may generate additional revenue for Bizzy Crochet and Design.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Stitch of the Week #1- Spike Cluster





You can join me on YouTube or use the following pattern...or both! 

Chicken Scratch Dishcloth

Stitch of the Week #1- Spike Cluster

Materials Needed:

2oz total- #4 Worsted Weight Cotton Yarn. (Sample used PaintboxCotton Aran * in Sky Blue, Lime Green, Slate Gray, White, and Seville Orange)
#7/4.5 mm Hook
Lg eye needle for weaving ends
Scissors
Note- If you want to achieve stripes, make sure that you choose colors that will stand out against each other.

Finished size: 9” W x 8” H

Special St:
Scl (Spike Cluster)- count down two rows and to the right two stitches, insert your hook in the space to the right of the second stitch to the right, yo, draw up a loop (not tightly), count straight down two rows below the current sc you are replacing, insert your hook in the space below the second stitch below, yo, draw up a loop, count down two rows and to the left two stitches, insert your hook in the space to the right of the second stitch to the left, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull a loop through all 4 loops on the hook.   

Abbreviations:
Ch- chain
sc- single crochet
yo- yarn over
 


Pattern:

R1- ch 36, sc in the second ch from the hook, sc in each sc across (35)
R2-4- ch1, turn, sc in each sc across. (35) If you are striping- cut color after R4 and add new
R5- ch1, turn, sc in 5, (Scl in next st, sc in 5) across to the end. (35)
R6-8- ch1, turn, sc in each st across. (35) If you are striping- cut color after R8 and add new
R9- ch1, turn, sc in 2, (Scl in next st, sc in 5) across to last 3, Scl in next, sc in last 2. (35)
R10-12- ch1, turn, sc in each st across. (35) If you are striping- cut color after R12 and add new
R13-36- Repeat Rows 5-12 three times.
Cut and weave your ends.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s stitch pattern!
You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Make sure you come and say hello- and share your projects with me- I would love to meet you!             

~ Biz


Here's a free hot pad/potholder pattern of mine that would make a great accompaniment piece to these awesome dishcloths!

*Affiliate links are used in this post. You don't pay anything extra, but if you make a purchase I earn a small commission. I only link to what I personally use and believe in. 

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Grimm's Tales Materials List

Materials List for the
Bizzy Crochet Grimm’s Tales Spring 2019 CAL

Yarn Choices: There are four blanket samples to help you choose, and there are two ways to sign up for the CAL. 

The free version will be hosted here on the blog from April 3rd to June 15th. Sign up on my email list at the top of my blog. The free version will have only have access to the pattern and videos through June 15th. 
The paid version, which will provide you with a pdf version with lifetime access to the videos, is available here

Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn (original blanket)

28 oz Black (1420 yds)- used throughout the blanket
Grimm's Tales CAL Original Blanket
2 oz Toasted Almond (102 yds)- used for the door
5 oz Stonewash Dark Gray (255 yds)- used for the stone wall
12 oz Light Taupe (612 yds)- used for the trees and the basket
3 oz Terra Cotta (153 yds)- used for the trees and hearts
2 oz Dark Olive (102 yds)- used for the trees
2 oz Coffee Brown (102 yds)- used for the trees
2 oz Graphite (102 yds)- used for the trees
6 oz Dark Country Blue (306 yds)- used for the birds and treasure boxes
3 oz White or Off White (153 yds)- used for the  birds
3 oz Graymist (153 yds)- used for the birds
4 oz Sungold (204 yds)- used for the gold bobbins

Light #3 or DK
Less than an ounce of each color Black, Gray, Gold, Tiny bit of white- used for the mirror

Extras:

#7/4.50mm hook- used for the entire blanket
Grimm's Tales Mirror in DK yarn
F/3.75mm hook- used for the mirror
Lg Eye needle for sewing ends and assembling
Straight pins for assembly- maybe 10 or 15

We are available to answer any questions on the Bizzy Crochet Facebook Page and CAL Group.

Red Heart Colors (Dana’s Blanket)

21 oz Black- used throughout the blanket
 2 oz Café Latte- used for the door
Grimm's Tales Red Heart Version
4 oz Medium Grey - used for the stone wall
Scrap ball Yellow- used for the door knob
1 oz Light Brown- used for the trees
1 oz Redwood- used for the trees
1 oz Emerald- used for the trees
1.5 oz Espresso- used for the trees
1.5 oz Grey Heather- used for the trees
5 oz Charcoal- used for the trees and birds
2.5 oz Navy- used for the birds
3 oz Aran- used for the birds
3.5 oz Light Grey- used for the birds
5 oz Gold- used for the bobbins
8 oz Brown- used for the basket
2 oz Rusty Red- used for the hearts
4 oz Stormy Blue- used for the treasure boxes

Scheepjes Colour Crafter DK 100g/300m (Niamh’s Blanket)

Grimm's Tales DK Version
Door 
Lt Brown - Veenedaal 1064 – 24g
Door Knob
Scheepjes Catona- Lemonade 403- less than 10g
Door Hinges
Black - Ede 1002 – 10g (totaled at the bottom)
Wall
Med Grey - Wolvega 1099 – 47g
Trees
Lt Brown - Veenedaal 1064 – 12g
Rusty Red - Breda 1029 – 12g
Green - Assen 1065 - 15g
Med Brown - Haarlem 1054 - 13g
Darker Grey - Pollare 2018  - 16g
Black - Ede 1002 – 17g (totaled at the bottom)
Birds
Blue - Middleburg 1003 - 26g
White - Weert 1002 – 33g
Silver Grey - Heerenveen 1203 - 34g
Black - Ede 1002 – 37g (totaled at the bottom)
Bobbins
Gold - Eindhoven 1114 - 43g
Basket
Lt Brown - Veenedaal 1064 – 123g
Hearts
Red –  50g
Treasure Boxes
Blue – Middleburg 1003 – 50g
Black- 309 total for the blanket (3 balls suggested for all parts)

Mix N Match (Theresa’s Blanket)

Door: 
Impeccable Soft Taupe:  1.5oz
Knob:
Grimm's Tales Disney Version
Vanna’s Choice Gold less than .5 oz
Hinges:
RHSS Black less than .5oz
Stone Wall:
Vanna’s Choice Grey Marble 5 oz (almost 2 balls which are 3 oz each)
Trees:
RHSS Medium Purple 1.5 oz
RHSS Spring 1.5 oz
RHSS Petal Pink 1.5 oz
Impeccable Rose BonBon 1.5 oz
Impeccable Deep Forest 1.5 oz
Impeccable Citron 1 oz
Birds:
RHSS Turqua 2.0 oz
RHSS Grey Heather 3 oz
Impeccable White 2 oz
Impeccable Pale Grey 2.5 oz
Bobbins:
Craftsmart Value Butter 3.5 oz
Kreinek Gold Blending Filament- 135 yd spool
Basket:
RHSS Café Latte 8 oz (1 whole ball and part of another)
Hearts:
Impeccable Cherry 2 oz
Impeccable Amethyst (didn’t weigh this, part of total Amethyst for blanket)
Treasure Boxes:
Impeccable Teal 3.5 oz
Lace sections, part of Hearts and Border:
Impeccable Amethyst- Need at least 3 balls for the blanket (4.5oz balls) I used the purple for an extra round on the baskets and one other place where I was afraid to run out of the color so ended up using 3 whole balls and part of another.   I’d say 4 balls for this if you are using it for the hearts, lace, and border, most crochet looser than me.

Join us on Facebook in the Bizzy Crochet CAL Group for lots of conversation, tips and tricks, weekly giveaways and an awesome community of crocheters! The CAL officially starts Wednesday, April 3rd!! You will also find me on the Bizzy Crochet Facebook Page, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

What Do You Binge Watch?


Today's question is what do you binge watch on tv while you're working on projects? 

I will admit, I haven't actually "seen" very many shows, but I have listened to quite a few! haha. The shows I struggle with are the foreign ones that you have to read the subtitles for. Those take special "between projects" planning. I can't crochet AND read the tv. If you have figured out a way to do both, please share your secrets!

Tony and I have fairly predictable taste in our shows. We love anything foreign cop show related. BBC is our jam! My all-time favorite show is Broadchurch (David Tennant & Olivia Colman- perfection). I could watch that over and over and I'm obsessed with the soundtrack. Other favorites in that genre are Hinterland, Happy Valley, Vera, Luther (all the heart emojis for Idris Elba), River, Scott & Bailey...the list could go on for a while so I'll stop there.  Most of those have been available on Netflix at one time or another. You just have to watch the lineup when they add things and take them away again. 

Netflix is probably the way we watch most of our binge shows, but it is not my favorite streaming platform. My favorite is Amazon Prime. My problem is that I have a Chromecast plugin for the back of my tv instead of an Amazon Fire Stick. The reason this is a problem is that Amazon won't let me stream from my phone to the Chromecast. It took me a long time to realize how awesome Prime Video was. I used to pay the $115 membership fee every year just so I could get Prime shipping. Then, one day we decided to look at the video options. Oh my goodness. Their selection far surpasses anything Netflix can put out. You get entire seasons of shows instead of just chunks. And you can buy the ones you want to keep. It all gets stored digitally so you can access it anywhere. I think I'll be buying a Fire Stick soon because I'm not super impressed with the Netflix lineup right now and the Fire Stick is on sale for $24.99 right now. 

My other favorite genres are action, suspense, thrillers, and the occasional horror flick. I'm not much of a chick flick person. My mom binges Hallmark movies. Oy. I just can't do it. I have maybe five chick flick's that I love. 

Pride & Prejudice (Keira Knightley & Matthew MacFadyen) is my top chick flick of all time. And while I have read criticisms about this particular scene, it is one of my favorites. I love the story it tells about the world fading away and it's just the two of them. I know that's how I felt when I met Tony. He was all I saw or noticed. The soundtrack of the movie is phenomenal, and I adore Matthew MacFadyen (heart emojis again). He was a fabulous Mr. Darcy.






So, what do you watch? Do you have a favorite? Leave me a comment! 

Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest


Saturday, March 09, 2019

Behind the Scenes of a CAL


Every CAL is a new journey for me. It starts with a pile of yarn and my trusty notebook. From there I take my idea and, through hours of stitch study and recreation, turn it into an inspiration sampler blanket. This can take me anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months. But, that is not where the journey ends. Once the pattern has been created to my satisfaction, I then have to make it again for the tutorial videos that accompany my CAL's. I break every part of the blanket down into easy to make sections and teach you how to do all of the stitches you may or may not be familiar with. I absolutely love making my tutorial videos. It allows me the opportunity to interact with, and spend time with you.

I don't have a fancy set up in my office/studio. It's very simple. I have a small table my dad made for me out of repurposed cupboard doors, and I cover it with white so that it reflects as much light as possible. I use two photography lights that I purchased on Amazon. I have provided a link below for you for the set I have. They are very reasonably priced and well worth the small investment. I have an older tripod that holds my iPhone. I really need to upgrade that, but for right now it is what I have to work with. 


Why do I show you all of this? So you can know that you don't have to have fancy or expensive things to put out quality. You can start where you are, with what you have, and create. The rest will come.

I will spend the next few weeks in the evenings recording the videos for the CAL. I like to try and make sure I have them all done and edited before the CAL starts so that I can spend my time chit-chatting with everyone in the CAL Group on Facebook and doing the fun things like setting up giveaways. I hope you will join us if you haven't already. You can find the information for the CAL here, and the Facebook group here




Shopping in Hobby Lobby

I needed to buy some yarn to be able to work on the tutorial videos for the Grimm's Tales CAL coming up in a few weeks. You can find out more about that here.  I had set a budget for myself, but I didn't spend it all because I discovered that Hobby Lobby had all their yarn on sale for 30% off! I thought I should be able to buy more yarn, Tony didn't agree. Watch the discussion below...


In the end, I didn't win about the yarn, but I'm pretty sure I won the battle. I went over to the other side of the store and bought "storage" for my yarn, which he didn't seem to have a problem with as long as it wasn't more yarn. This turned out to be an awesome haul due to Hobby Lobby having all of their "Spring" collection on sale for 40% off!! Here's this week's ad. I took advantage of it and bought some legit storage and some pretty storage. I also treated myself to some unnecessary decorations. Pretty sure if there's a win category...I'm in it. Haha!




I bought myself an enormous teacup planter to use as storage for my "cute" yarn. I also found a really cute, plain white ribbed planter with jute handles that told me it needed to come home with me. So, that is being used for cute yarn storage as well. I also got myself some new salt and pepper shakers. I'm obsessed with campers right now, so these are a perfect fit.



 These are the legit storage baskets I bought myself. They are the perfect size to fit my shelves AND they are super sturdy. I think I spent $5 each on them. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure I spent more than roughly $5 on any of the items I brought home with me. I did buy four baskets to start out with. The other colors are navy blue and black. They are currently on the other shelves in my office. 

The last picture is of the "unnecessary" pom-pom art I purchased to hang in my window. I'm not sure it was truly unnecessary, because it makes me happy and brings light to my room.

Oh well, I guess there isn't really a moral to this story other than he should have let me buy the yarn. It would have cost him less! LOL

If you don't already, come join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.




Tuesday, March 05, 2019

15 Ways To Increase Your Facebook Business Page Following



Facebook can sometimes seem like an endless struggle for those of us with business pages. They are constantly changing things and creating new algorithms, which only seem to create new roadblocks for us. But, even with the frustration, Facebook is still an awesome place to build your online business presence. It's a great way to create a following and engage with your followers. In today's post I'm going to give you 15 strategies to increase your following on your Facebook business page, and in the process, up your quality. You want to be the page that everyone wants to hang out on. You want to have the posts that people don't want to miss! So, here we go...

15 Ways to Increase Your Facebook Business Page Following

1. Use Great Images! They don't even have to be your own. Just make sure they are captivating and relevant. For example, I tend to share great pictures of people who use my patterns and take excellent pictures. It's free content for me and it shows off the talent of my followers, which they love! This particular picture was one I shared from Instagram to my Facebook business page.



2. Post industry related posts that address pain points and meet the needs of your followers. While it's our business page...it doesn't have to just be about us. Why do you have a business? To meet a need, right? So, use that to be the source! Be the one "in the know"! Show people how to do things that matter! It doesn't have to be fancy, it just needs to answer a question.


3. Invite People! Let there be no shame in your invite game, people. Don't assume that because you invite them to follow your page that you are bothering them. There are businesses built by people with loads of confidence, and there are businesses built by people who are afraid that they are bothering others. You want to be the one with loads of confidence and stop making assumptions. This is coming from former "assumer".  If you flip one thought in your head it will make all the difference in the world. Your invitation is a simple gesture. If people are interested, they will follow. If they are not, they won't. And you'll never know the difference unless you write down every person you invite and stalk them! You can start with friends and family and build from there. Facebook makes these helpful suggestions to you in your notifications, so I use them. If you click on the notification it will take you to a list and show you who you have already invited and those you need to invite. You simply click on the "invite" box and move on with your life. 


4. Cross promote your page on other social media sites. Talk about your Facebook page on your Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc...but make sure you are pointing them to a specific post about relevant content. Just saying "Hey, come follow me on Facebook!"' without giving them a reason why is a sure-fire way to get ignored. This post on Instagram pointed people to my pattern and my CAL Group on Facebook. 

5. Don't just post about your sales. Follow the 80/20 content rule. 80% of your posts need to be about information and fun. Things that make people laugh or show your followers glimpses of the "behind the scenes" of your business. The other 20% needs to be about your business sales, etc. I'm not selling anything but who I am in the next pictures. This is a chance for people to get to know me.

Here my husband is helping me roll balls of yarn while I work on organizing other things.

Here I'm working on other projects while listening to business training videos. 



6. Link, Link, Link! Link from your personal Facebook page, your emails, your other social sites. If you are online anywhere, make sure that people can find you. Don't assume that because people know you that they know what you do. Sometimes even our friends have no clue how to find our businesses, or that we even have a business page. And if you comment on other Facebook pages as yourself, and you say something that causes people to say "Hey, I want to know more about this person"...make sure they can find you!! Here is my personal page. I am linked to my business and to several places that I manage and I want people to know about. Those are all links, people. USE THEM!


6. Keep your posts short and simple: Between 40-120 characters is optimal, depending on which researcher you look at. If you have a graphic with great content or a picture that really does speak a 1,000 words, then let it do the talking for you. It can be exhausting to try and come up with great content all the time. Put a K.I.S.S. on everything you post! Keep.It.Short. & Sweet.


8. Use Facebook Lives!! Oh man, these are gold. Facebook LIKES it when you go live. They will share your post to more people. Why do they share lives better than regular posts? Because Facebook is all about "engagement." They want business pages to be engaging with their followers. And if you are going live one to two times a week...you are investing in that relationship and Facebook helps you. Like I talked about earlier, Facebook's algorithms change constantly, but currently, it favors live engagement over just posting things...so get over your jitters and use the platform to your advantage. This picture is of the first ever live I did on my Facebook business page, and even though I only had about 12-15 people watching me at the time that I did it- it went to more than 500 views in a 24 hour period. 

9. Be Personal! Be Genuine! Let your followers know who you are. People want to know who they are buying from. They want to know that you learned how to paint from your Aunt Martha, and your Grandma taught you how to bake the best cookies on the planet, and your family went on its first vacation in 10 years. People live their lives online anymore. Just think about the people you follow. Why do you follow them? They have something that interests you, don't they? There's a presence, there's a reason. Your best customers/clients will be the ones that connect with you. I tend to share about my family, what I'm cooking, and what makes me laugh...




10. Check your Facebook Insights. Facebook Insights can be a confusing mess of information to try an understand. The things you want to be really cognizant of are: Watch what types of posts have engagement and what time do your followers interact with your posts the most? You want to make sure that you are putting out content that encourages your followers to participate- which they will be more likely to do if you put out things that you know they like. And you want to be aware of what time of day the majority of your visitors visit. You don't want to be posting your content at 8pm when your greatest engagement is at 9am. The best place to look at your insight information is on a PC. The phone app has them, but it's very limited. Below are a couple of examples of the limited information on the app.



11. Schedule your posts ahead of time. Ideally, you should be posting at least four times a day for Facebook to take you seriously and share your page to your followers with frequency. You could sit down one day a week for an hour and bang out all of your scheduled posts. Now, that doesn't mean that you can't post as you think of it in the between times. It just means that you are now not tethered to your phone or computer making sure that you are putting out content at least four times a day. You can go get a massage and get your nails done, instead. Or work on OTHER business building skills. If you are unfamiliar with scheduling your Facebook posts, I have a short photo tutorial coming up. I did it on my phone, which is where I do most of my posting. 

When you click "share" this page pops up asking you when you want to publish your post. Click on the little arrow to the right of the question as shown below:


What will pop up is a scheduler which allows you to choose the time and date.

Once you are satisfied with the date and time click "done" and the next page will pop up. Click on "Schedule"...and you're all done. 


12. Don't use "Boost", instead create your ads. Boost does not get shown to as many people, therefore does not generate very much engagement. If you really want your sponsored posts to stand out create your ad. Facebook has many helpful tutorials to walk you through creating an ad campaign. But, my favorite, just for the sake of growing my page, is a "like" ad. It is literally an ad that you purchase with your budget and your time frame in mind to get your name out there and gain followers. Just like there is no shame in your invitation game, there is no shame in your ad game. Once again, how will they know you're there if you don't tell them?? Facebook is no "Field of Dreams"... just cuz you build it does NOT mean they will come.


13. Share posts from more popular pages than you. You can definitely share posts from pages smaller than you. I like to share from a mix. But, the reason I say share from ones more popular than you is that the more popular pages already have a following. Their share rate is higher, therefore they have more engagement on their posts, therefore your post will be shown to more people because they are already popular. See how that works? Use their popularity for your benefit. That's why they create shareable content, so don't feel like you are doing something wrong by piggybacking or "drafting" off of their momentum.





14. Engage with other pages AS your business page. On the PC you can choose to switch how you are engaging on Facebook. You can post as your business page. This is a GREAT way to be discovered and to gain followers. The picture below shows where you can change how you are posting. Just click on the arrow and change the page. 



15. Last, but definitely not least, Be Interesting! No one likes to see the same thing over and over. Share things, post things, script things that will appeal to people. Give them a reason to like what you do! Below are some pictures of the other things that I share on my page other than my "business" things. I share them because they are engaging and interesting and sometimes nerdy and educational. They evoke my personality, create content that means something to me, and speaks the things I can't always say. 


This is a video about how cowboys used to weave and braid horse hair into lassos.

This list is by no means comprehensive. There are at least another 15-20 things you can do to help grow the following on your business page, but I wanted to share with you the top 15 in my book. These are the ones that have helped me grow and continue to expand my following. The biggest thing about a list like this is: Don't just read it. Implement it. That's how you'll actually see change.

I hope this helps you.
Blessings,
Biz

Make sure you connect with me!


Saturday, March 02, 2019

Grimm's Tales FB Live


Announcement #1- I will be going LIVE today, Saturday, March 2 @ 9:00 am CST on the Bizzy Crochet Facebook Page for the full Grimm's Tales CAL blanket reveal, and to talk about the CAL itself...dates, times, costs, and what you can expect! I hope you can join me! I can't wait to meet you!


Announcement #2: The sign-up for the Grimm's Tales CAL pattern is now available! You can either sign up for the free version here on the blog by becoming an email subscriber (under the banner)...OR you can click on this Ravelry link for the paid version and receive 50% off the cost until March 16th!! Use the coupon code GRIMM50. 



Either way you do it, I hope you join us in the Bizzy Crochet CAL Group on Facebook