Friday, 20 November 2015

Feature Friday - Audrey's Cozy Crochet / Warming Hearts

Crocheting as Therapy

When I was young my grandma tried to teach me to knit.  It didn’t work out so well.  She thought I was doing a fine job…. I knew better.  I remember my grandma being able to see but by the time I was a young teenager she was legally blind.  That didn’t stop her from doing whatever she wanted too.  She knit until the day she had her stroke at age 97!  I hope to be like her when I grow up :)  I think my grandma is probably the reason I took up crafting.

I learned one crochet stitch when I was in Bible School.  Crocheted myself an afghan that I still own.
After that I didn’t crochet for years, until I had children.  Decided to crochet some blankets as baby gifts, that lasted for a few blankets, then I quit again.

About 4 years ago I was talking with someone and she mentioned that she crocheted in the evenings while watching TV with her husband and donated the scarves to the homeless shelters in the city.  This sounded like an awesome idea, so I purchased some yarn, a hook and haven’t looked back since.  Every year I crochet 2 large boxes for charity.  Here are some of the items I have crocheted this year.  Found 3 different places that take donations!  The local food bank takes donations for their Christmas Hampers,  the Salvation Army and a food truck that goes out 2-3 times a week and they also take items for the homeless or families in need, and a friend’s aunt volunteers at a shelter for abused women.  Three awesome places to donate some handmade items to help people stay warm this winter.

​I had an Etsy shop for a while, but it didn’t work out for me.

Still have a business page on Facebook though:

I also have a blog where I post FREE crochet patterns every Friday

Crocheting has been wonderful therapy for me.  It’s relaxing (unless I miscount stitches), keeps my hands busy (no munching), and is a way I can give back by crocheting for Charities.  Who needs a therapist when you have yarn and hooks?  lol

I have also recently started something new called Warming Hearts.  For each item sold, one item is donated to a charity.  Donations are sent to:
- the local food bank for their Christmas Hampers and also for anyone in the community who needs some extra help.
- The Salvation Army to be distributed from their food truck which goes out 2-3 times a week to feed those living on the streets, and families having trouble making ends meet.
- A shelter for abused women. I have a friend who's aunt volunteers at the shelter, items will be sent to her.

If you have a preference as to which charity receives your donated item, please let me know.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 13 November 2015

Feature Friday - Renaissance Yarns

I've been knitting and crocheting since I was 8 years old, and for many years, had only ever purchased synthetic yarns at discount department stores. In 2001, while my family was living in New England, we visited some of the county fairs and I was enchanted to find the source of natural fibers - I was "hooked"! I was determined to work with these beautiful yarns, but quickly realized I couldn't afford to purchase most of them.

Several years ago, while stopping at a yard sale, I saw a couple of J. Jill 100% silk sweaters. I almost passed them by, but then had a light-bulb moment. Why couldn't I take these beauties home and unravel them? I did just that. They yielded more than 1,000 yards each, which I used for several different projects. An idea was born, and a new practice began of searching out discarded garments made with luxurious fibers and making them my own.

I was so excited to finally begin using beautiful, natural yarns for my own knit work. Then it occurred to me that there would be other knitters, crocheters, weavers, felters, and various other crafters who, for financial, ethical, or practical reasons might appreciate reclaimed yarn, and I could provide it. And so Renaissance Yarns was born.

My process: I visit clothing exchanges, thrift stores, and consignment shops, looking for knit sweaters and other garments. I choose only those with all or mostly natural fibers, and only those in good condition (although tears or stains don't dissuade me because they can be worked around). I disassemble them, keeping the designer labels and fiber content/care tags, unravel each piece carefully, and wind the resulting balls of yarn into 2-yard hanks on a swift my husband made for me. I then carefully hand wash the hanks in a gentle organic detergent and hang them to dry without weights to avoid breaking and stretching the fibers. Afterward, I measure the hanks, tag them with fiber, yardage, weight, and care information, photograph them, and create a new listing in my Etsy shop. Voila!

This story began with a love of knitting and crocheting and grew into an appreciation for luxurious yarns. Now, Renaissance Yarns can put those beautiful fibers into your hands at an affordable price, while giving new life and purpose to these valuable yarns. And that is my mission.

Lisa has three hanks of 100% Merino Wool, 2-ply laceweight yarn in three different "harvest" colors: Avocado, Gold, and Maroon that she is giving away.  None of these yarns are superwash wool. They're wonderfully soft and lofty, but are not machine washable.

They will be divided up into three prizes.

Giveaway will run for two weeks.  Winner will be announced on the blog after November 27, 2015 and contacted as well.

To enter, please use the rafflecopter widget below.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Friday, 6 November 2015

Feature Friday - BKInspired

About me:
I am a simple girl who likes simple things. I am proudly married to a Mountie (RCMP) and we have two amazing and talented young boys. We live in Southern Ontario, just a few minutes walk to beautiful Lake Ontario. I have been creative my entire life and have tried just about every craft there is, but it wasn’t until I worked at Michael’s that I discovered wood burning and found what speaks to me the most. I love how a few simple strokes of heat can transform a piece of wood into something very special.

About my shop:
BKInspired began in April 2011. Being a family that is required to move often I was looking for a business that could travel with us and fulfill my creative needs. I sell my work mainly on Etsy but I can also be found at local craft/gift shows in the Durham region.

What I create:
I burn creative designs on a variety of wooden objects. My best sellers are wood flower presses, wood bookmarks and wood postcards. I also create yoyos, coasters, lazy susans, boxes, signs and much more.

My latest endeavour is in the world of colouring books. My first one was printed this summer and I am working on a second one to be released in the new year (2016). It will have a Canadian theme.

Why I create:
Being creative is in my blood. My entire family is talented. They are all successful in different ways (theatre, art, and writing) and so it was only natural that I share my talents in my own way.
I believe it is important to have my children see me work and be successful selling what I create. It lets them know they can do whatever they put their minds to.
Over the years I have created some very special custom pieces that I know have become an important part of the lives of the recipients. That means a lot to me and is what drives me to continue creating, learning and developing my craft.

What inspires me:
I am inspired by everything around me. I enjoy being in nature, it fuels my soul and keeps me going. I am also inspired by other artists. It is motivating to see what other artists and creatives are up to and it pushes me to try new things or work outside my comfort zone.
The name of my shop comes from the initials of my two boys B & K so you could say they are my biggest inspiration.

Social Media Links:

Here is a special coupon for your readers:
CrystalBlog2015 for 15% off
Valid until December 31/15

Check out BKinspired and let us know what you love!  Don't forget to use the coupon in her shop!
A friend bought me that camera's really great bookmark!  I love it!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Motivational Monday - Destashing

Nothing like finding patterns online you don't have yarn for!  So, rather than going and shopping for more yarn, I'm still saving all the patterns for maybe one day and in the mean time I'm crocheting up a bunch of my yarn!  I have completed two scarves already, each using up one skein of yarn using a quick pattern called Long Double Crochet Cowl and then also made a chain scarf similar to this one using two colors of yarn.  I have another variegated scarf  on the hook right many ideas, never enough time.  Hoping to get photos of the scarves in the near future to post here!

In the mean time, what's your favorite patterns or yarns to work with?

Friday, 30 October 2015

Friday Feature - Shade Tree Living


Shade Tree Living is all about living a simple, natural life! Providing home and body products that promote a healthy natural lifestyle.

In our body products we utilize only natural ingredients, the finest oils and butters and additives straight from nature. All products are made in small, quality controlled batches to ensure you get the freshest product available.

Our first choice, and priority, is to recycle and reuse when possible in all of our packaging and material use. Providing products that promote a sustainable future for us, our children and the many that come after. 


Five years ago when my first son was just a baby, I starting learning more and more about the harmful chemicals and detergents in our everyday products. I set out to find a better way and found that I loved making natural products for our family. Soon, I started sharing those products with my extended family and friends and found they loved them too!

I love creating natural, healthy products that are both beautiful and functional for an everyday consumer.

Social Media:

Visit Shade Tree Living and let us know your favorite item is from their shop!

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Treasury Tuesday

Since  I missed posting something for Motivation Monday, I decided to do a Treasury Tuesday!  To see some unique gift ideas for the holidays, please head on over and check out these unique shops.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Holiday Gift Guide for the Yarn Enthusiast

Ok, couldn't help myself.  Been browsing a lot of yarn lately and so I've made a compilation of lovely yarns from Etsy.  Unfortunately I couldn't include them all!
Too many favorites from NaRoKnit shop!  I can't make up my mind as I'm actually hoping to order myself some!

From Renaissance Yarns is this lovely bundle!

From Yarn Rescue is this lovely variegated yarn!

And these shades of blue from

From lightbrownhare

So tempted to buy this piece!  I love the thick and thin yarn!  So much fun to work with!  This one is from Fluffdujour

Another beautiful collection of blues from MYandGG

Now, that's a big ball of wool from woolWOW

WendyWonders127 has some stunning skeins too!

Endless idea on Etsy!  Hope this helps you shop for your yarn enthusiast on the list!