Saturday, April 19, 2014

What to Do with a Leftover Crochet Motif?

A couple days ago, I blogged about a Crochet Car Seat Toy and Free Crochet Bird Pattern I'd made for the littles back home in the US. Here are the results of that fun, little project...

Crochet Car Seat Toy by Go Crochet Crazy with free crochet bird pattern





Crochet Motifs by Go Crochet Crazy with Free Crochet Bird Pattern




My plan was to make two car seat toys, using three of each motif -- crochet birds (find the free pattern here), stars and granny diamonds -- for each toy. As it turned out, that would have made for a rather crowded, busy car seat toy. So I ended up having a few extras leftover. What to do...what to do?

Crochet Motifs by Go Crochet Crazy with free crochet bird pattern.

Using my blog friend Rain's star pattern, I completed the leftover yellow stars and then came up with the idea to turn them into Star Coasters to brighten up mornings and make coffee-drinking more special.

Star Coasters by Go Crochet Crazy

And for someone who enjoys reading, one of the little crochet birds grew very, very long legs like a Sand Piper and morphed into a whimsical, colorful crochet bookmark.

Crochet Bird Bookmark by Go Crochet Crazy, free bird pattern on blog.


 

Making the Car Seat Toys was a lot of fun. Repurposing the leftover crochet motifs for something else smile-worthy was also an enjoyable experience. Hopefully, I'll have three happy recipients from these projects now, instead of two!

Go Crochet Crazy turns leftover crochet star and crochet bird motifs into a bookmark and coasters.

Admittedly, I haven't spent a lot of time learning about crochet motifs. Did you know that even a granny square is a crochet motif? A crochet motif is considered to be any crochet piece that must be sewn or stitched together with other pieces in order to create the finished project.

What kind of crochet motifs have you created? Have you ever had leftovers that you used for other purposes? I invite you to join the conversation about crochet motifs...a topic I thought I had little experience in but, as I discovered was something I'd known about all along.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Finally Friday Link-a-Long at the Go Crochet Crazy Bog, Theme: Creative Inspiration

Welcome, Friends, to another #LinkParty at the Go Crochet Crazy blog! This week's theme is "Creative Inspiration". I've been so inspired by the creative projects shared in my new Google+ group, Go Crochet Crazy "All Things Handmade". If you haven't joined the group, I invite you to do so. We're sharing anything handmade, not just crochet, but fiber arts, paper crafts, other crafts, food stuffs, DIY, etc.

Let's Get This Party Started!

Share your blogs, Pinterest pin, or linkable image of homemade/handmade items that fall under the categories of crochet or other yarn creations, crafts, home & gardening, DIY, cooking and decor. Please keep it family friendly, and by joining the link party you give me permission to share your additions through social media venues, such as Pinterest and Twitter. Of course, you will be credited for them. Because I'm highlighting community this week and creative inspiration, I ask you to please visit a couple other links shared in this party and leave a comment for each. It takes a few seconds and means so much!

Join the weekly link party on Fridays at the Go Crochet Crazy blog! All things homemade and handmade welcome!
Now, let's take a look at...

Last Week's Most Popular Links


See Sum of Their Stories Here!

Congratulations, and grab Your "I Was Featured at Go Crochet Crazy" Button to display on your blog!

Here's the Code to Copy & Paste:

<div align="center"><a href="http://www.gocrochetcrazy.blogspot.com/" title="I Was Featured at Go Crochet Crazy"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-hIiPUXdLibo/U0bmPEG3XYI/AAAAAAAAAzA/8-xl9O9hIQE/s1600/I+was+Featured.jpg" alt="I was featured at Go Crochet Crazy" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
Before I get to the Finally Friday Link-a-Long Guidelines, if you have any doubts that participating in link parties is okay, please read my blog post here. It will put your concerns to rest.

 Go Crochet Crazy Finally Friday Link-a-Long Guidelines
  1. Add links for up to three of your blog posts (not just your home page) using the ADD YOUR LINK button below.
  2. Leave a comment on two other blog posts or pins, letting them know you found them through the Go Crochet Crazy Spring Fling Link-a-Long. If you're one of the first two to the party, you can comment on the last one or two from this Link-a-Long from last week. Please feel free to comment on more, if you like. We all LOVE to get comments.
  3. Share this post through Google+, Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook...that's more exposure for everyone joining the link-a-long. **This is easy to do after linking up by clicking on one of the social media icons before you return to the party.**
  4. Let your readers know you've joined the Go Crochet Crazy Friday Link-a-Long by linking to this post on your blog. You can text link to this URL:
    http://gocrochetcrazy.blogspot.com/2014/04/finally-friday-link-long-theme-friends.html

Link-a-Long Badge Code
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.gocrochetcrazy.blogspot.com/" title="Join the fun at the Go Crochet Crazy Link-a-Long"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-2G_ThFcVjw4/U0boyBHif5I/AAAAAAAAAzY/eFBusEtNzDs/s1600/Link-a-Long+Badge.jpg" alt="I joined the fun at the Go Crochet Crazy Link-a-Long" style="border:none;" /></a></div>


This Weekend I'm Linking Up With:

Crochet Addict UK "I've Made Friday"  
Create with Joy Friendship Friday 
Natasha in Oz Say G'Day Saturday
Beauty Observed Link Party 
Annemarie's Haakblog Link Party 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Free Crochet Bird Pattern & a Crochet Car Seat Toy

Six little birdies came out one day,
flapping their wings and ready to play.
Off they went, toward the sky so blue,
ready to spend the day with you.

Free Crochet Bird Pattern by Go Crochet Crazy


I've been indulging in some "happy projects" lately. Recovering from the dreary, gray weather we've had here the past week (and missing my family back in the US, if I'm honest) has led me to turn to my yarn for some uplifting activities and diversion from stress. 

This week, while taking a break from my Cath Kidston-inspired giant granny afghan (which is now the size of a lapghan...pictures soon, I promise!), I got the hair-brained idea to make one of those dangly sort of toys moms string from their baby's car seat, bouncy seat, or crib. Since my girls both have two-month-old babies, I asked them what such a toy is called. Neither really seemed to have an exciting-sounding name. Apparently, they're referred to as car seat toys, take alongs or tag alongs. 

But even without a fun-sounding name, it certainly was fun to come up with ideas for the car seat toy I made. I've been anxious to show you the pictures, so here they are!

Car Seat Toy Motifs by Go Crochet Crazy
Car Seat Toy Motifs by Go Crochet Crazy
Car Seat Toy Motifs by Go Crochet Crazy

And the Big Reveal!....

Use this adorable dangly decoration as a car seat toy for baby or a springtime bunting! Made by Go Crochet Crazy, who also has a free pattern for the crochet birds on her blog.

After crocheting the stars, the granny diamonds with tassels and the crochet birds, I simply crocheted a chain of about 32 inches long. Then I attached the danglers by little, mini chains, leaving plenty of room on the ends for the toy to be tied to a car seat or crib. For those who don't have any babies in their life, I think this would also make a lovely springtime bunting to cheer up a room a bit after a long, dreary winter.

I have a free pattern for the crochet birds, which I'll post below. But first I have to give kudos to my dear blog friend, Rain, who posted the star pattern on her blog here. Why reinvent the wheel? Rain did such a wonderful job with her star pattern, I decided to use it. For this car seat toy, I modified by doing only two rounds for the star, instead of three.

The diamond shapes are just two-round granny squares edged with a single crochet and finished with a tassel on the bottom. I enjoyed making these and the stars because they were both so simple, but happy-looking.

Finally, I needed one more dangler for each car seat toy and wanted something that said "spring" but not "Easter". I enjoy listening to the birds singing outside, and it was their lovely songs one evening that inspired me to come up with a simple crochet bird pattern that could be used for a variety of projects. 

Crochet Bird Pattern by Go Crochet Crazy, free pattern available on blog.

Crochet Bird by Go Crochet Crazy

Supplies

Cotton yarn, perfect scrapbuster
Hook size H 5mm

Bird's Head & Body

Ch 4, join with a slipstitch (or use Magic Ring)

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as first HDC). 14 more HDC into ring (15 sts) Join last stitch to top of first stitch with a slipstitch.

Round 2: Ch 1 (counts as first SC). Into the same stitch, crochet [1 HDC, 5 DC, 1 HDC, 1 SC] to make the bird's head. *Continue with same yarn or fasten off and switch to complementary color.* SC in each of next 10 stitches (around the bird's belly).  Into the next stitch, work [HDC, ch 1, DC, ch 1, HDC] to make the bird's tail. SC once in each of next 2 stitches. Then slipstitch into the next stitch to complete the bird's back. SC once in each of the next 8 stitches to outline the head. Slipstitch into the next stitch, then join the last stitch with the first with a slipstitch.


Fasten off, weave in ends.








Bird's Beak

Join yellow yarn at 1 stitch above the base of your bird’s head. Ch 3, then slipstitch into the stitch below (the stitch at the base).

Fasten off, weave in ends. Use wet blocking to get a nice point on your bird's beak.

Bird's Feet

Count six stitches from the bottom of the beak to the belly. Attach yellow yarn into the 6th stitch with a slipstitch. *Ch 3, HDC into the 2nd stitch. Slipstitch into the first stitch*. Slipstitch into the 7th stitch from the bottom of the beak to form the next foot. Repeat from * to *. Fasten off and weave in end.
(You can also make the bird without feet if you don't want dangly things hanging from the belly. For a baby, I like the dangle. For my own project, I'd probably leave the feet off.)

Bird's Eye

With black or white yarn and a big yarn needle, sew an X onto your bird’s face for an eye.

Tweet, tweet...aren't we sweet?
This crochet bird pattern and the whole car seat toy thingie might have actually been TOO FUN to make. But, then again, I don't think there's ever such a thing as too much fun. 

What fun creations have you made on a whim, or to fight the doldrums or escape stress? Creativity is such a wonderful thing. Not only for the pretty and functional things it brings forth into the world, but for the wonderful, happy feelings it gives each of us.

This Week I'm Linking Up With:

Memories by the Mile Treasure Box Tuesday
Kathe with an E You're Gonna Love it Tuesday
VMG206 Brag About it Tuesday Link Party 
Oombawka Design Weekly Link Party
Small Things Yarn Along Wednesday
Crochet Addict UK What Are You Doing Wednesday?
Easy Life Meal and Party Planning Four Seasons Blog Hop
Krafty Inspiration Thursday Link Party 
I Gotta Create Wildly Original Link Party 
Sincerely, Paula No Rules Weekend Blog Party
Be a Crafter xD Crafting Along Link Party 
Interior Frugalista DIY Sunday Showcase

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

4 Tips that Can Make a Difference in Your Blog Traffic This Week

In a departure from my normal crochet-focused blog posts, I want to address an issue that affects all bloggers. Whether you are crochet blogger, craft blogger, food blogger, DIY blogger, business blogger, travel blogger or one of any of the other kazillions of kinds of bloggers, you have something in common with the rest of the Blogosphere: the desire to increase your traffic.

We all want people to visit and read our blogs.
Increasing your blog traffic (and, as a result, your business) is simple. Note that I said "simple", not "easy". Certain steps and procedures, when followed religiously, will help you create and maintain a blog that readers enjoy visiting again and again.

I doubt if any of us started blogging just to talk to ourselves. Blogging is about being heard, sharing information and connecting with like-minded people. No matter what your blogging goals are, you can increase your traffic and see results starting this week.

Get More People Reading and Visiting Your Blog This Week

1. Follow the Golden Rule

If you're going to use only one of my tips for increasing your blog traffic, this would be the one. Often the advice is given to be "reciprocal" within the blogging community. In other words, "I'll follow you, if you follow me." I don't believe this tactic is effective. At first, you might get a little more traffic, but it will quickly taper off. Bloggers who use this method to increase their traffic eventually move on to other blogs they're newly following, or they stop checking in altogether because it gets too overwhelming to keep up with a laundry list of blogs. Consequently, your blog traffic numbers return to what they were, leaving you back at Square One.

Build a loyal base of followers that yields steady growth by following the Golden Rule. What is the Golden Rule? Simply put: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If you want more comments on your blog, start commenting on other people's blogs. If you want people to share your blog posts via social media, share theirs. If you want readers to visit faithfully, give them something worthwhile to read.

Remember, when it comes to blogging (and pretty much everything else in life), you get what you give.



2. Join Communities and Be an Active Member

If you move into a new neighborhood, the best way to meet the neighbors and become a part of the community is to get out of the house and be active. The same concept is true for blogging. Spend time away from your blog, being an active part of a related community. Google+ is an excellent venue for finding communities related to your blog topic. Join a few of these communities and participate by contributing photos, ideas and your latest blog posts. Don't post and run...remember, you get what you give. Comment on others' posts, visit others' blogs and leave comments, and share to your circles. Set a time limit on how long you want to do this (I spend two to three 10-minute chunks of time each day). Your efforts to increase blog traffic will require work, but they shouldn't be stressful and overwhelming.

3. Put in the Time

Nothing in life is free, baby, and the same is true in the blog world. If you're a hobby blogger who derives great satisfaction from seeing your words in print and having a few family members and friends read them, you don't necessarily need to invest large quantities of time in your blog. And there's nothing wrong with being a hobby blogger....you should do what brings you joy. But if you're using your blog to promote or build your business, you'll need to put in some time on a consistent basis.

Each week I invest about 20 hours in my blog and in blog-related tasks (such as promoting posts with social media, attending link parties, commenting on others' blogs and being active in my chosen communities). A blog that's intended to build your presence or promote your business should be viewed as an extension of the business. It takes time to do all the things that need to be done to have a quality blog and a growing community. Again, you get what you give. Give of your time if you want to increase traffic.

Trust me, your efforts will pay off! With my current time investment of 20 hours per week, I've increased my blog traffic by 200% in two months. Spend more time, as you can, on your blog or blogging tasks. If you don't have enough time available, look throughout your day for time that's lost to TV, Facebook or other time-wasters.

4. Attend (and Possibly Host) Link Parties

First of all, if you're concerned that link parties aren't okay, read this post of mine so you can feel better about participating in or hosting them. Once you've laid your concerns to rest, start looking for link parties that include your blog topic. Communities are a great source for finding link parties or blog hops. Spend a week or two being involved and following the rules, such as checking out other participants' blogs and leaving comments. A little experience will help you understand whether or not you want to host linkups, too, or just participate.

The key here, and with an other tip you apply, is to participate fully. Visit other people's blogs and comment. Most of the time, they'll visit your blog and comment, even if only to say "thank you". The ripple effect will come into play because, as you connect with others, that connection will lead more people to you.


What Qualifies Me to Give This Advice?

Your blog traffic numbers will grow in proportion with the amount of effort you put forth. But who am I to tell you this? Yes, I give a lot of thought to blog traffic and put forth a lot of effort on my blog, but there's more to it than that. Aside from being a professional writer for the past 17 years and the author of a motivational business-building book , I've also coached others and helped clients build their businesses through writing and social media marketing management.

For years, I've spent time honing the strategies that work while weeding out the ones that don't. I'd like to pass those on to fellow bloggers because I believe there's enough traffic to go around. No catch.

I'd love to hear from you about your blog traffic, what your goals are, where your trouble spots are and the results you see from trying any of these tactics. Sometimes a small tweak in what you're already doing can make a big difference. Start by knowing what your blogging goals are so you can create a focused strategy to meet them.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Crochet Bonnet, a Crochet Blanket & a Crochet Bag

Last month I finished crocheting my Lazy Daze Poncho, and since then I've been busy working on my newest crochet pattern eBook titled A Bonnet, a Blanket & a Bag.This was another labor of love since I designed the bonnet pattern for the two littlest darlings in my life, who are now two months old, and the lovey blanket for another other little darling who just turned two years old (why do children grow so fast?). The bag, or purse, portion of the project is something you may already be familiar with from a previous blog post.

And here they are in pictures...


Cotton Candy Crochet Baby Bonnet

Pattern available for Cotton Candy Crochet Baby Bonnet by Go Crochet Crazy


My Little Lovey Blanket 

Pattern available for My Little Lovey Blanket by Go Crochet Crazy


Bare Essentials Bag





What do a bonnet, a blanket and a bag have in common? To me, they symbolize springtime, summertime and outings in the warm, fresh air. Imagine strolling along with your beautiful baby, donned in a Cotton Candy Crochet Bonnet and covered with a stroller-sized Lovey Blanket to keep the wind at bay. Stash the necessities in the Bare Essentials Bag and be on your way for a day of fun and relaxation. A Bonnet, a Blanket & a Bag is available for download now on Amazon, along with my other crochet pattern eBooks, which you can find here.

My hope is that you'll find these patterns as enjoyable to make as they were to design!

Today I'm Linking Up With:

Memories by the Mile Treasure Box Tuesday
Kathe with an E You're Gonna Love it Tuesday
VMG206 Brag About it Tuesday Link Party 
Oombawka Design Weekly Link Party
Small Things Yarn Along Wednesday
Crochet Addict UK What Are You Doing Wednesday?
Easy Life Meal and Party Planning Four Seasons Blog Hop
Krafty Inspiration Thursday Link Party 
I Gotta Create Wildly Original Link Party 
Sincerely, Paula No Rules Weekend Blog Party
Be a Crafter xD Crafting Along Link Party