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  • Easy, Breezy Spring


    Like so many others right now, I am ready for a good dose of Spring. Give me lots of color - an extra dash of green, please, and warmth & comfort! I’ll be outside trimming & planting and inside, I’ll be bringing out fabulous fabrics and my colorful stash of crochet thread. A change of scenery inside is order.

    Mother Nature, with a little help from me, will take care of the outdoors but it’s up to me when it comes to the inside. Time to get busy.

    One of the quickest things you can do to create a fresh change for the season is to change out your throw pillows. Some of my favorites are from BJ Berti in Total Crochet for the Home. I love the crochet edgings with the great mix of fabric prints. Aaah, these pillows say “Spring is here!”

    There are 5 different crochet trims for pillows in the book and they work up fast. Choose your favorite warm weather fabrics and try this little edging pattern to get you going. Click here to download instructions.

    If this puts you in the mood to crochet and you just can’t stop, BJ has also included more pillows - total crochet pillows using simple pattern stitches that are “skill level: easy.” That’s for me. Quick. Easy. Spring!


  • Bloomin' Good Time!

    Here at Leisure Arts, the hint of spring is finally in the air! The sun is shining gloriously today and I actually saw some daffodils in bloom on the side of the road. This morning the meteorologist said we could be in for a beautiful weekend with highs actually in the 70s. I'm smiling here in Little Rock.

    I'm struck by the thought that we crafters can bring so much to the table when the seasons change. A little something here & there and our homes begin to bloom just like the flowers outside. And at Leisure Arts, we're definitely bursting with lots of spring projects ready for you to get started on! On all of our sites you'll find that spring/Easter projects abound, just beckoning you to get busy.



    LeisureArtsLibrary.com
    is loaded with quick and easy projects for school and preschool aged children. In fact, if there are any room mothers our there that love to get crafty in the classroom here's an easy project for you! This and many more ideas await you by clicking and logging in.

    On LeisureArts.com there are plenty of great free projects to inspire you, but since this is all about the blossoming of the new year, we’d like to suggest our “Crochet a Rose” pattern. These fiber flowers are easy to make in a variety of sizes and can be used as fashion accents or decorations around your house. Go to the Knit and Crochet section of Free Patterns and download the free pattern to get started. They’ll take you no time at all and add a touch of brightness to your day.



    TheLeisureBo
    utique.com offers up its own take on the crafted flower. Simple, quick, and oh so colorful, these sensational tissue paper pretties provide endless possibilities for decorating now, or at any time of year. Head on over and grab a copy of the instructions.

    CrochetSoiree.com is also loaded with great ideas. Mary Taylor, of Out of the Box with Everything Mary, loves flowers of all kinds (especially crocheted ones, of course). Tune into to view her Coffee Koozie and Embellished Greeting Card videos to catch up on what she's doing with them.

    Have a bloomin' good time!!

  • My Very Own Olympics

    I love to watch the Olympics. While I’m not very athletic (quite the understatement!), I am always inspired by the commitment and sacrifice the athletes must make to reach this level of competition. But the only way I can justify watching hours of television, is to be productive. It doesn’t hurt that I love to crochet and have found a motif I am enjoying making over and over. This way I don’t have to concentrate too hard and can follow the action closer.

    The motif from the cover design of A Year of Baby Afghans, Book 4, is the perfect design. Now, I’m not making a baby afghan, I just love that design. I changed to worsted weight cotton yarn and decided to use the brown and cream in every square and change the third color – I’ve used pink and green so far. I have a blue and a purple that I will experiment with later. Eventually, I will join them to make something – a tote bag, a scarf, or maybe small lap blanket. I really like how quickly the squares work up and can hopefully be ready to put together my 2010 Winter Olympics keepsake by the time the games are over.

    Are you working on a project while you watch the games? I’d love to hear about it!

  • A Snowy Silent Day

    We woke up to a blanket of snow this week. My husband forged on to work, of course, so I enjoyed the silence that only snow can provide. I finally pulled myself from under the covers. While I sipped my first cup of coffee I made a list of all the things I needed to accomplish. The office was closed but with email and my Blackberry I was able to attend to the business issues. I cooked, I read, I paid bills, and then I pulled on my rubber boots and took a stroll outside. We live across the street from a lovely Episcopal church. It is a pleasure to look at all year round but with the addition of snow, it’s extra special.

    While the snow is beautiful, I kept seeing signs of what I’m really waiting for…Spring! Beneath the snow, the tops of daffodils are poking up. I know that in that big terra cotta pot are more daffodils chilling that will provide me with a lovely vase of the first flowers in our garden.

    Our raised beds are only weeks away from the first vegetables being planted. I REALLY love gardening and watching our backyard come to life.

    So, while the snow is pretty, my thoughts are already turning to spring. How about you??

  • Don't forget...Pat's Creative Talk Radio giveaway!

    Life behind the scenes at Leisure Arts, carrying and photographing quilts on a bus tour of Ireland, submitting new designs to us, and so much more...if you missed the live broadcast of my conversation with quilt designer Pat Sloan on her Monday internet radio program, you can now download the podcast at http://toginet.com/shows/creativetalkradio. Visit to catch this week or any of Pat's programs.

    To celebrate, Leisure Arts is giving away a set of our newest publications. To enter to win, go to Pat's site at http://patsloan.typepad.com/ and leave a comment on her blog. You have until 12 p.m. EST Friday!
  • Get Your Lucky On

    Do you Remember what Forrest Gump says when bullies call him stupid? “Stupid is as stupid does.” Forrest’s mama taught him well and I was reminded of this as I went through a great slide presentation by social media strategist Tara Hunt. We often think of luck as something that is beyond our control but this list from a scientific study done by Richard Wiseman puts into words what I’ve been feeling for a long time: "Lucky is as lucky does." We all know a few people who seem to have been born under a lucky star but for the rest of us, luck is something we can create a lot more of. Among the five things listed here, four consist of action verbs like follow, balance, go, and see. Only in the last item do we run into a more passive state of being.

    Do you want some luck in your corner today? Well you’d better get busy! In Korea, waste is considered very unlucky and the actions that people take to avoid waste include using wrapping scarves instead of disposable wrapping paper or disposable bags. Try hemming the sides of some scrap fabric you have lying around the house and using it to wrap a Valentines gift. If you are giving flowers, try this gorgeous technique that FTD is using for wrapping up a vase of flowers.

    To get this look, use a double layered wrapping scarf like these in size small (about 22"x22") and neatly bring up two opposite corners at a time and tie with ribbon. Directions for making your own wraps are on page 80 of The Wrapping Scarf Revolution. Until next time...Happy Wrapping!

  • Pat Sloan's Creative Talk Radio show today

    As the editor of the quilt publications here at Leisure Arts, I'm very lucky to work with a great group of fun, creative designers. One of my favorites, quilt designer Pat Sloan, has a new internet show, Pat Sloan's Creative Talk Radio. She will be interviewing a collection of your favorite designers and creative thinkers (and me) in new shows every Monday afternoon. And today's my day!

    Tune in to http://toginet.com/shows/creativetalkradio at 4p.m. EST today if you'd like to hear our conversation live. And if you don't have a chance to catch it today, the interview will be available for download later. To download this podcast or her interviews with Lynda and Nancy of the Great American Quilt Factory, Bonnie Hunter, or Heidi Kaisand, visit http://toginet.com/shows/creativetalkradio.

    If you have the chance to listen live and have a question for me, Pat will take phone calls during the show. Maybe you're an almost-designer with a great idea that you'd like to turn into a book or maybe you'd just like to know how the weather is down here (not snowing...or is it??), call in and we'll chat!

    To celebrate the occasion, Leisure Arts is giving away a set of our newest titles.
    To enter, visit Pat at http://patsloan.typepad.com/ and leave a comment on her blog telling your favorite part of the interview (and commercials don't count, OK?). The contest is open until 12p.m. EST Friday, February, 12.

    The set includes:

    Pat Sloan's Camera, Color, Quilts!
    Debbie Mumm's I Care with Quilts
    Still Crazy for Baby from Me and My Sister Designs
    and
    Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Quilting

    Entering to win is easy...just tune in and then leave a comment!

  • What’s Cookin’?

    When is the last time you saw tons of Chef’s Hats in one place? I’m pretty sure for me it wasn’t at a craft show, but this year the CHA floor was rockin’ with the big poufy headgear! It was great fun to see. Lots of people were cooking up something and hats were donning heads and on display everywhere. The Cricut booth was overflowing, making cakes it seems – edible and paper. As the crowd spilled into the aisles, excited about the product demos they had just seen, their chef’s hats made a sea of white!

    Check out cricut products on Theleisureboutique.com. What great products! Hang on - because the newest product (you're seeing here) will be available April/May 2010.

    For a more colorful version of the hats, one had only to walk into the Everything Mary booth. You couldn’t help but to be drawn into the lively display of aprons in bright pinks, greens, yellows and crisp whites with Chef’s Hats to coordinate. You can imagine creating a scene in your own kitchen – who says you can’t throw in a little color in everything you do? Mary shows us you can!

    We’ve been cooking up a few cakes in our kitchen lately – yummy Cupcakes. In fact, we’re celebrating with all sorts of delicious treats that will make you want to grab an apron, put on your hat and start creating. You don’t have to wear a hat, but I think you’ll have an extra helping of fun if you do!

  • More from CHA

    Deborah Norville inspired the knitting crowd with a few pointers and the introduction of more new yarns from her collection. (Find the yarn line created for Deborah by Premier Yarns at theleisureboutique.com) It’s great! Her book , Knit with Deborah Norville, was broadly displayed & eagerly received by the crowd. You can find a great variety of classic projects in it to inspire your next knitting project. Be sure & take a look. Already tried one of her patterns? Let us know what you’ve knitted.

  • Leisure Arts at CHA


    The Craft & Hobby Association trade show is underway this week in Anaheim, California, which means excitement for crafters and needleworkers everywhere. Designers, manufacturers, and publishers come together to introduce new products and ideas that are sure to keep the creative juices flowing. Many of them are already available in stores and on websites that are quick to get the latest in front of you.

    A few fun highlights:

    Our editor, Susan Sullivan, participated in the consumer show as part of the Craft Yarn Council of America team. All around the booth, demonstrators were showing all kinds of things you can do with yarn, including teaching the obvious things you can – knit and crochet! The crowd was loving it. Susan entertained the imagination by showing how you can dye your own yarn with kool-aid! That’s right …kool-aid...it makes such beautiful colors and it’s oh, so easy. Click here for your how-to and join in the fun. (Note: Kids will love doing this with you.)

    One of our very favorite designers is Mary Taylor – that’s “Out of the Box with Everything Mary” – whom you may know from her videos on Crochetsoiree.com. She had a colorful booth chock full of super bags and organizers that she designed. As you can see, her ‘make it & take it’ was quite a hit. There was a whole lot of embellishing going on. You can start with a tote bag just like your neighbors, but with an idea or two from Mary - you’re sure to end up with something that’s everything you.

    More highlights to come soon. Only two more days and lots to see and share.

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