Monday, November 16, 2015

A Call to Arms, Crafters!


Beginning today, until December 31, 2015, I will be collecting donations of knitting needles, crochet hooks, yarn, and pre-owned pattern books for the Typhoon Haiyan women survivors of Tacloban for this very worthy cause.  I ask that you consider this project as worthwhile of your assistance.

As many of you know, I am from the Philippines.  In November of 2013, my home country was hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan, resulting in devastation in the region of Tacloban.  Now, two years later, life has returned to some kind of normalcy in the area, but there is still much that needs to be done.

Recently, I was contacted by my high school classmate and fellow maker, Candy Reyes-Alipio, about a project that she is currently involved in. She is part of a group called Knitting Expedition and is involved in teaching knitting to women in the Philippines as a livelihood skill. 

She recently returned from a trip to Tacloban, where in partnership with a local designer, Tipay Caintic and non-governmental organization (NGO) SANKATIGAN, she taught the ladies of the community to knit. SANKATIGAN was created to provide a safe space for the survivor women and children to play and move onwards from the tragedy of the great storm of two years ago. Now, the women are being taught crafting as a livelihood skill to provide a dignified source of income.

Photo Credit: Candy Reyes - Alipio

In July 2015, Ms. Caintic brought a group from Craft MNL to teach the ladies how to crochet. Here is a video of that project and the impact it will have for these women.


The women of SANKATIGAN are enjoying their new learned skills and must continue to practice.  Currently, they are working with donated materials of varying grades, hindering their ability to meet their potential to create consistent high-quality, salable items.

Photo Credit: Candy Reyes - Alipio
On behalf of the women of SANKATIGAN, I am calling on you, my dear friends, fellow teachers, and makers to step up and help these women.  Please consider donating knitting needles, crochet hooks, pattern books, and yarn for this worthy cause.  Feel free to buy a set from your local yarn shop or craft store, or give any of your extra needles and materials and send them to me for collection and shipping to the Philippines.  All your donations will be cataloged and accounted for once they have been received. 

If you would like to participate, please let me know either by commenting below, sending me a private message, or e-mail.  You may also mail the donation items directly to me at:

Handmade Love and Joy
PO Box 491
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
Please remember to include your contact information (Name, address, e-mail address and/or telephone number) so I can acknowledge receipt of your donation.

If you are in the Philippines and would like to participate as well, please let me know and I will direct you to the persons who can help you there.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Free For All

Just a few random updates on what's going on.

1. I have two knitting classes opening this month. 

Knitting Basics Workshop through the Cherry Hill Township Recreation Department.  Click here  to enroll. Seats are still available.




The second is the fall Project Class at The Treehouse Coffee Shop in Audubon, NJ. Click here to enroll.



2. I've got a new writing gig, and it's all geeky, nerdy, and conspiracy theory-y. 

Season 10 of "The X-Files" is arriving on January 24, 2016.  Check out my catch-up posts on all nine seasons of "The X-Files", on pop culture site Biff Bam Pop.




3. I'm going home to the Philippines for my 25th high school reunion, and it's going to be EPIC.



4. I'm developing a new project for the Sustainable Cherry Hill Art Task Force and it involves plastic bags and hooking.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

New Knitting Workshop - Knitting Basics

I am holding a one-night-only knitting basics workshop on October 6, 2015, Tuesday at the Kay Evens House at Croft Farm, 100 Bortons Mill Road, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034.
Fee: $15.00 per person.
 
Sign up for this workshop is only available through the Cherry Hill Township Recreation Department. Please visit https://reconline.cherryhill-nj.com to sign-up. Use Course No. 839c.

Seats are limited to 10 only.

Hope to see you there!
 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Inspiration Sunday



 Go-Go Dancer @ Heat by Drew Ressler via Flickr. Shown here under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Inspiration Sunday



Hot Kitchen! by Vinoth Chandar via Flickr.  Shown here under CC By 2.0.

This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Inspiration Sunday



 Turn Up The Heat by Neal Fowler via Flickr.  Shown here under CC BY-NC 2.0.

This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Just because...

Once in a while, I get the question, "Why do you do all the stuff that you do?" 

The most truthful answer is,  "Well, because I want to."

I stumbled across this statement, one of my favorite people made today:

http://www.cometparty.com/2015/07/joyful-vegan/

It is for this very reason that I try, with every ounce of my being, to never complain about the lack of time to do things.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Super Hump Day

It's a Wednesday, and it is right smack in the middle of the year.  July 1, 2015.   How did we get here so quickly?

My writing friend (and cosmic twin), Lisen Minetti, touched on how far she's gotten through her Writing Resolution list.  This got me thinking about mine, so I dropped by my first post of the year, in which I presented my guiding principles in quotes.  I am happy to say, it looks like I am moving along the right path.

On writing.
I now recognize the strength of my voice and ability to convey story.  My confidence is wavering slightly right now, but once I get back into motion and build momentum, I believe I will finish the first draft of my WIP by the end of the year. 

On approaching new endeavors.
I have taken some large steps in trying new things. After completing my certification course, I started my knitting instruction business. This takes quite a lot of my time and energy; quite possibly drawing my stores reserved for writing.  I am however enjoying teaching this skill and art that I love to others who I hope will love it just as much.  Plus, I am meeting so many lovely people along the way.

On my family.
There have been a few times (some good, some not so good) during the first half of the year, when I have had to drop everything at a moments notice for my family.  For any of those times, I regret nothing.  They truly are my everything. God has shown me that with out them, nothing else matters.

As for the second half of the year,  I am hoping for a little bit of balance across all the sections of my life, but we'll see how that goes. It's certainly going to be busy: there will be some life changes (a freshman in high school and a new middle schooler), some travel (high school reunion), some family time, and hopefully, lots of good memories created.

Now, onward!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Inspiration Sunday



Time Passes By the Wise Old Oak, by Jason Jenkins via Flickr.  Shown here under CC BY-SA 2.0.

This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Inspiration Sunday




Fatherhood by aclark71, via Flickr.  Shown here under CC By 2.0


This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Inspiration Sunday


 The Ferris Wheel, by Billy Wilson, via Flickr.  Shown here under CC BY-NC 2.0

This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Monday, June 1, 2015

New Summer Project Class at The Treehouse Coffee Shop

I am happy to inform you that I am offering a new knitting Project Class over the summer.
 
When: Tuesdays, from June 30 to August 4, 2015
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Where: The Treehouse Coffee Shop
120 W. Merchant Street, Audubon, NJ 08106

Cost: $70/person (for all 6 sessions)
$15/person (for Walk-In session)

This is a special group class designed for knitters of novice to intermediate skill levels focused on completing an appropriate level project of the student’s choice. I will coach and assist you from cast on to bind off. By the end of the class, you will have a completed project to proudly show off to family and friends.

This class is perfect for a regular ladies’ night event, or setting aside dedicated “me” time to create. Use this class as an opportunity to finish those lingering works-in-progress (WIPs) and unfinished objects (UFOs).

Prior to the first session, you must identify the project you intend to complete during the class.  Please bring the project pattern and all the supplies and equipment needed to complete your projects.

Each participant is entitled to one drink OR snack from the coffee shop during the session.  All subsequent orders shall be for paid for by the participant.

If you would like to sign up for this class, please complete the form below I will get back to you with the enrollment details.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Handmade Love & Joy


I am embarking on a new venture of turning one of the great joys of my life into a business.  When I started blogging in 2004, (yikes!  11 years?) it was to talk about my adventures in knitting and food.

After a brief hiatus from knitting to concentrate on my writing, I came back to it last year and the love I have for sticks, hooks, and yarn was rekindled.  As such, I decided to take it one step further.

I am in the process of completing my Knitting Instructor Certification by the Craft Yarn Council.

I am now offering private Learn to Knit classes for beginners of all ages.  I offer one-on-one, small group, and parent and child classes.  For knitters with some knitting skills, but are having trouble finishing a project, I also offer a project based class. At the moment, I am limited within a ten mile radius of Cherry Hill, NJ.


Check out the Handmade Love & Joy page on Facebook to learn more about my class offerings. Here is a sampling of what to expect from each class*:

*Class fees are available upon request.

Learn to Knit (Adults Beginners):
3 sessions  (1-1/2 hours to 2 hours per session)
A comprehensive class designed to teach you the basics of knitting.  At the end of each session, you will complete a beginner level homework project.  By the end of the class, you will have enough confidence in your skills to complete a project that plays with textures and shaping.  Classes are available for one-on-one instruction or small groups (2 to 5 persons).

Learn to Knit (Children and Parent and Child):
3 sessions (45 minutes to 1 hour per session)
A quick learning class designed to help you and your child (7 to 12 years old) jump into the joy of knitting.  At the end of the class, you and your child will have enough confidence in your skills to complete a beginner level project.  Classes are available for one-on-one instruction (1 child or 1 Parent and Child pair) or small groups (2 to 4 children* or 2 to 3 Parent and Child pairs)
**For Children Only classes, the child's parent or guardian must be present during the session.

Project Class (Adults Only):
6 sessions (1 hour to 1-1/2 hour per session)
Specially designed to help knitters with novice to basic knitting skills who are having trouble completing a project.  A bring-your-own project class, perfect for a regular girls' night out or scheduling some dedicated "me" time to create.  This class would also be great opportunity to finally finish that lingering Work-In-Progress or Unfinished Object. Classes are available for one-on-one instruction or group (2 to 10 persons).
If you'd like to learn more about each class, fees, and enrollment terms and conditions, please feel free complete this form:








Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Loner in the Garret: A Writer's Companion by Jennifer R. Hubbard


Today's guest post is from YA author, Jennifer R. Hubbard.  
Jenn stands as one of my pillars of inspiration and has become an unknowing mentor in my writing life.  I draw so much from her blog posts and so many times, I wished I could put stickies all over her blog on specific topics to return to.  Now, I can... well, in an electronic sort of way - thanks to the bookmarking and highlighting capabilities of my e-book reader app.
Here's Jenn sharing with us why she wrote Loner in the Garret: A Writer's Companion.  



When I first started writing seriously, for publication, I was alone. I didn’t know many other people who liked to write, and I didn’t know any who were regularly submitting manuscripts for publication. The only time I got critique was during the occasional workshop class that I took at night.

One reward of going to writers’ conferences and joining writers’ groups was finding like-minded colleagues—and friends. Friends who saw me through the process of writing, revising, querying, and moving past rejection letters. Friends who helped me run the obstacle course of publication. Friends with whom I exchanged pep talks.

Wouldn’t it be great, I thought, if I could have a little pep talk at the beginning of every writing session? Wouldn’t it be great to have a resource that acknowledges the emotional difficulties—and the humor—of writing and publishing? Out of these questions came Loner in the Garret: A Writer's Companion . Essentially, it covers the topics that I’ve found myself thinking about the most: procrastination, envy, getting started, learning to say no, learning to say yes. Remembering to celebrate. Knowing when to tough things out and when to let go. My hope is that my thoughts on those subjects will be helpful to other writers as well, and that it will at least remind them that they’re not alone.

Synopsis: Sometimes the most difficult part of writing is not coming up with a plot or the perfect turn of phrase. It’s getting motivated to sit down and start, or having the confidence to go forward, or finding the courage to move past the sting of rejection. Loner in the Garret: A Writer’s Companion provides inspiration and encouragement for that mental and emotional journey. It charts the ups and downs of the writing life with honesty, gentle suggestions, and a dash of humor.


 
Jennifer R. Hubbard (www.jenniferhubbard.com) is the author of three novels for young adults and several short stories. Her most recent book, Loner in the Garret: A Writer’s Companion, discusses failure and success and everything in between. She lives near Philadelphia with an understanding husband, a pile of books and chocolate, and a melodramatic cat.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Inspiration Sunday




The sisters de Baan of Spijkenisse, daughters of Jan de Baan & Johanna (nee Peppink)! c 1908. Uploaded by Yvonne Thompson to Flickr Group - The Museum of Found Photographs.  Shown here under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Inspiraiton Sunday





Sisters by Eric Benacek, via Flickr. Shown here under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Inspiration Sunday




 Title and Artist Unknown. Found via tumblr.


This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Inspiration Sunday




 The  Fanning Sisters, by Mario Testsino for W Magazine.  Found on Popsugar.

This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Inspiration Sunday


 Out of Focus, by Martin Fisch via flickr.  Shown under CC BY-SA 2.0


This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Inspiration Sunday


Broadway Snow by Christine L. Hardy.

Christine L. Hardy analyzes data by day and writes fantasy by night. A proud member of the South Jersey Writer’s Group, she lives with her son Jeff, her cat Koko, and an escape beagle named Zeke. Their escapades can be found on Facebook as well as at “Write First, Blog Later,” aka www.ChristineLHardy.com. Her stories have appeared in the anthologies Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey, Different Dragons II, and A Bard Day’s Knight: Tales from Fortannis Vol. III.

This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Inspiration Sunday




Artist unknown, found on Trish Is Thinking Again.


This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Tutorial: Making Plastic Yarn (Plarn)

The cold weather here in the northeast has been pretty brutal this year. We're looking at a rather nasty weekend ahead, so I'm planning to cocoon myself at home.  I know I run the risk of going stir-crazy with family cabin fever, but if I keep myself busy, I should come out of it okay. I think I'm going to make "plarn" (plastic yarn) for some future projects.

Here's a little tutorial I've put together on how I make plarn.

Materials Needed:
- Plastic Grocery Shopping Bags
- Scissors or Rotary Cutter
- Yard Stick (Not necessary, especially if you have a good eye at keeping cuts straight)
- Cutting mat (Only if you're using a rotary cutter. Although, unless you have a dedicated crafting table, using a cutting mat will protect your furniture.)

Steps:
 Step 1: Open up and smooth out the plastic bag.

Step 2: Trim off the handles and the bottom seal.

Step 3: Open up the bag, releasing all the folds. Flatten and fold vertically to a width that you are comfortable cutting. I fold until the piece is about 4 inches in width.

Step 4: Cut bag across into 1-inch strips. (A standard-sized shopping bag should produce about 11 or 12 1-inch strips)

Step 5: Open up the strip and chain the strips together.

Process as many bags as you wish. One standard sized plastic bag yields about of 5 1/2 yards. Once you've made your desired quantity, simply roll the plastic yarn into a ball. Sometimes I get lazy or too excited to chain all the loops before I start a project so I just chain the loops as I go along with my project.

This can be used on any knitting or crochet project that requires a chunky weight yarn.


Here are some links to free patterns for the items above:
Grocery Bag Purse by Michelle Molis on Another Knitting Blog (the middle one)
Crochet Grocery Bag Pattern by Knit-O-Matic (the one of the right and left*)
*I modified the one on the left with the body of the Knit-O-Matic pattern and then handle of the bag by Michelle Mois.




Sunday, February 15, 2015

Inspiration Sunday



Artist Unknown, found on Trish Is Thinking Again.

This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Avocado Toast with Poached Egg and Proscuitto

One of my great indulgences is a long and unhurried luxurious breakfast.  I treat myself to one every Saturday or Sunday morning, when I don't have to push anyone or myself, out the door for school or work. It's a welcome change from the workday morning rush.

For these days, an egg dish is my breakfast of choice. I enjoy the forced patience required to make the perfect poached egg*.

I recently discovered the sublime yumminess of avocado toast.



Avocado Toast with Poached Egg and Prosciutto

Ingredients:
1 slice whole grain bread
1 small ripe avocado
salt
pepper
lime juice
1 slice prosciutto
1 slice sharp cheddar cheese
1 poached egg
Chopped parsley or basil or cilantro to garnish

Method:
  1. Turn on your broiler to low.
  2. Scoop out the flesh of a small ripe avocado. Mash with a fork to desired consistency (I prefer it a little chunky). Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lime juice.
  3. On a lightly toasted slice of bread, spread the mashed over it.
  4. Lay down a thin slice of prosciutto.
  5. Lay down a slice of cheese.
  6. Poach the egg according to your own desired method.
  7. Without the egg, place the entire piece under the broiler to melt the cheese.
  8. Once you've achieved the desired doneness for your egg and melted cheese, gently lay the egg on top of the cheese.
  9. Garnish and season with parsley, basil, or cilantro, salt and pepper.

Serves 1.


*The "perfect"poached egg is pretty subjective.  I like mine with thick yolks whose edges are just about to turn firm.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Getting Over the Hump... Day

I'm in a writing slump right now and trying to get my act together to pick up where I left off on my work-in-progress.  Amy Holiday's #30Shorts challenge was great to jump start my muscles, but I couldn't keep up.

I'm picking up a couple of my writing reference/inspiration books to help get myself back on the wagon. I thought you might find them helpful too:



Just fifteen minutes a day after each chapter truly helps warm up the connection from my brain to my fingers.


Writing a novel is hard work, but Nathan's "It can be done!" attitude is always so encouraging.

 
From Natalie, I learned about "free writing" and how liberating it can be.  Keep the pen tip on the paper. Keep your hand moving forward; writing down one word after the other as it comes to you. Never go back to cross anything out.  I turn to this exercise when I am at my most fearful or anxious about my writing.



This is my "go to" resource when all else fails. It really is okay to write that shitty first draft. Also, the one-inch picture frame exercise is something I use when I need to distill the jumbled thoughts in my head, both in my writing life and work life.  Plus, I think it would make a cool writing workshop exercise on honing your description skills.


Tell me, what resources or references do you turn to for help getting over your writing humps?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Inspiration Sunday


Love Letters Only, by Elyse via Flickr.

Shown here under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Inspiration Sunday


Twilight Taggers Yarn Bomb Installation by Alana Renee Beck Photography via Flickr.  Shown here under CC BY 2.0.

This post also appears as a prompt on Amy Holiday's blog feature, 30 Days of Short Stories.  Jump start your writing by joining us create new work during the month of January!

This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Friday, January 23, 2015

All The Pretty Things

If you ever peek into my purse, you'll see all sorts of pouches inside. I use different pouches to store things by category: all my checkbooks and credit cards go in one pouch, my writing supplies and device chargers in another, my makeup and toiletries in yet another.  "Containerizing" helps me find things quickly without having to dig and saves on brain power, which I would rather use on work or writing projects.

Right now, all the pouches are either black or clear.  I've been meaning to replace them with cuter ones in nice colorful prints, but haven't found any that I really like.  Until a few days ago, when an old friend from back in the Philippines, announced an exciting new collaboration she was doing with a major bookstore back home.


Filipina TV host and producer, Daphne Osena Paez, in collaboration with the country's largest bookstore chain, National Book Store, recently unveiled a limited edition line of stationery and organizing products.  The DAPHNE® line includes pouches, a tote, note holders and clipboards, pens, desk organizers, file and magazine sorters, and of course, journals. All come in floral prints chosen from the names of her mother and her three beautiful daughters, and the hummingbird print in honor of her father's long career as a helicopter pilot.




While the items are not available here in the States, I've already had my family grab me a few things to hold onto until I go home for a visit.  The prices of her products are very, very reasonable.


I am so happy for my friend, Daphne.  She is a local TV personality and lifestyle influencer, with her shows featuring fashion and home design. She has a line of  bed linens, fine furniture, and other home products.  She is also the UNICEF Special Advocate for Children for the Philippines, bringing national attention to the importance of good health, nutrition, early childhood education, and the protection of children's rights.


We've known each other for years, but interestingly, our relationship grew while I was already living here in the United States.  The internet is a powerful connector, I tell you.
 
 Just like her, I too am "Laking National."  This term means that I grew up with National Book Store, having bought all my school books and supplies from there as a student.  This store nurtured my love for reading, and we all know reading is one of the seeds for writing.  Salamat, National!  Congratulations, Daphne!










Sunday, January 18, 2015

Inspiration Sunday





Found via ImprovisedLife.com


This post also appears as a prompt on Amy Holiday's blog feature, 30 Days of Short Stories.  Jump start your writing by joining us create new work during the month of January!

This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Friday, January 16, 2015

#30Shorts - Elevator Pitch Prompt

This is today's #30Shorts prompt.  The goal for the day is to create an elevator pitch based on the cards.  Hmmm...

Here goes:

An aging Viking warrior decides to go on one last quest, to rescue a fair maiden from the clutches of a mind-manipulating sorcerer.  What part of his adventure is real?  The rescue or the escape from the reality of his last days?

Now that feels a little complicated.