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  • A Ban on Plastic Bags

    Wendy Carlson for The New York Times

    I knew I loved DC! What great news to hear that our nation's capitol has started charging a 5 cent tax on disposable plastic bags. The new law which went into effect on January 1st, not only dramatically reduced the amount of plastic bags being used, it generated $150,000 in one month to help clean up the Anacostia River. This is great news!

    Back in 2002, Ireland placed a 15 cent tax on their plastic bags and dropped their usage by 90%. When I was living in Korea in the late 90s, we purchased pricey mandatory garbage bags, forcing us to be careful what we threw away. These garbage bags were also translucent and if you happened to throw out some recyclables in your regular garbage, forget about it. People in your apartment building would give you nasty looks for weeks. Seinfeld style.

    It's taking the US a long time to get the message, but this taxing thing works! Especially when so many people are already on the verge of giving up plastic bags. Now the whole nation just needs to follow suit. At a time when most cities and states are experiencing budget crisis, THIS is the time!

    Very important to remember is how resistant people can be to change. Many District residents were furiously up in arms when they first faced the tax in January. This Washington Informer article from January makes it very clear how angry many people were at the time.

    I so admire our neighboring town of Westport, CT, for banning plastic bags in March of last year, becoming the first town in Connecticut to do so. In the year that has passed, not a single additional town in CT has followed suit although Westport reports no problems with the ban and a reduction of about a million bags so far. Wilton is said to be considering a similar law.

    The New York Times reported that the ordinance had passed 26 to 5 despite opposition by representatives from the chemical industry and the supermarket chains. “Westport is well known for being progressive, and in the forefront of social issues,” said Gordon Joseloff, a first selectman, noting that it was one of the first communities to pass a resolution opposing the Vietnam War. (NYT)

    In Korea, groceries were carried in wrapping scarves for centuries. Check out how to make big hobo bags (first pic) in the The Wrapping Scarf Revolution.

    Bravo DC and Westport! What a great display of leadership.
    Till next time, happy wrapping! xo Patricia

  • I’m Late, I’m Late, for a Very Important Date!

    Well, I missed Doug’s shower last Friday and as Martha reported, it was a special one. Two baby girls…wow!

    I always like to make gifts for babies and this was no exception. I decided to make knitted wash clothes and because Doug is concerned about the future of our planet (and he’ll now have two more important reasons) I searched out 100% organic cotton yarn. The trick was to find one that was soft enough and the right weight. I did finally find a soft medium weight but let me tell you, colors were limited. Typically, organic yarn is only found in a range of earthy colors so I chose a nice creamy tan and a twist of off-white and grey. No girly pinks in this bunch!

    The patterns are from Baby Washcloths to Knit by Melissa Burnham. There are 9 really cute designs in the leaflet. I chose the baby bottle and baby buggy. The motif is created with purl stitches on a field of knit stitches and they’re so quick and easy to make.

    I was pleased with the end result and was happy to deliver them to the father-to-be this afternoon. I hope the girls enjoy them for many bath times to come!

  • Celebration Day!

    Today we celebrated something very special. A co-worker, Doug (from Crochet Soiree), was given a baby shower. In just a few short weeks, he will become the father of two baby girls…that’s right two. Oh, it is so sweet and very pink I might add. I love, love, love baby showers. For years, when baby showers were given, I always wrapped the gifts in receiving blankets. I would tie the packages with ribbon, string or whatever I could find. In fact, sometimes I would even tape the blankets around them. I thought it was a practical thing and pretty cute, too!

    Well, not any more! Seriously, when The Wrapping Scarf Revolution by Patricia Lee was printed I was delighted to see that what I had been using all these years, had a name…bojagi. I learned there was art to making the package pretty by using a series of special knots. This is derived from an ancient Korean inspired art of wrapping gifts or any totable with a fabric square. So I proceeded to teach myself the art of wrapping and knot tying. Look - - - - - how cute are these!!

    In these eco-friendly times, I’m glad that I can make a contribution. Give it a try—you’ll love the results. Use your own fabrics or buy ready made Bobo wraps. It is really fun!

  • A Night in Washington DC

    We were a few days too early to see any real cherry blossom action but what a night we had in Washington DC last week. So many wonderful people came to the Korus House of the Korean Embassy to hear my talk, Bojagi to BOBO, A Green Tradition from Korea Reimagined. With the final count at over 150 people, even the overflow room was full to capacity and it was standing room only for the presentation.

    It was one of those lucky nights where things just seemed to click. DC/MD/VA traffic can be murderous but it was smooth sailing all the way from the highways to the triangular mazes of the city. The audience was also amazing and just perfectly on my green colored wavelength. Heavenly!

    Speaking to a room full of DC intellectuals including college professors and diplomats can be daunting, but the guests were very warm and engaged in the topic of the night.

    There were so many great questions and comments by the audience. I wish we had more time to pass around the mike to everyone! Here are some snippets from our Q and A session:

    Q: What is the Korean etiquette with using a bojagi (wrapping scarf)? Is it rude to take the wrap back when giving a gift?

    A: There are many correct ways to use a bojagi. Many people choose to give the bojagi to someone as part of a gift. Others use the wrap as a personal accessory much like a bag and use it to transport a gift of wine or food. They unwrap the gift, hand it to the recipient and put their wrapping scarf away.

    Q: What are the best fabrics to use as a wrapping scarf? I have a lot of cotton fabrics at home and would like to try the techniques.

    A: The beauty of wrapping scarves is that you can use so many different fabrics and materials depending on what you may have available. My book, The Wrapping Scarf Revolution, goes into more detail as to what fabrics and sizes to use for specific projects but one easy test to see if your fabric will work is to hold a corner of the fabric and tie a knot. If you can't tie a knot easily, the material is probably too thick.

    At the end of the evening, we gave 7 lucky raffle winners a signed and BOBO wrapped copy of my book, The Wrapping Scarf Revolution. Thanks DC for a fun and memorable evening. Till next time, happy wrapping! xo Patricia

  • 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.
    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 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 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. 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 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 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!

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