New adventures and book giveaways!!!

So it has been a bit crazy here lately. I have three new crochet books to tell you about today, and I have been making plans of late to embark on a new adventure. The kind folks at F&W have agreed to provide a winning copy of each title (giveaway limited to U.S. And Canadian participants only). So…what would you like to hear about first? My upcoming adventure, or the swag? 

Photos copyright F&W, 2016

Okay, I don’t blame you. We’ll talk about the swag first! 

Up first we have Classic Crochet Blankets. This book features 18 lovely projects in DK, sportweight and worsted weight yarns, all designed by various crochet rock stars. We are talking Kristin Omdahl (I have long been a fan girl of her work!), Ellen Gormley, Doris Chan…and the list goes on! There are designs ranging from the classic back-of-the-couch granny afghan in modern fresh colors to several join-as you-go options for those who hate weaving in hundreds of ends. Yes, please! If blankets are your thing, this is the book for you. If you can’t wait to win a copy, you can click here to buy a copy!

Up next, Kristin Ohdahl’s Continuous Crochet. I want to make. All. The. Things. In. This. Book! (Did I mention I am a fan? I already loved her work years ago, and then I met her, and I have to tell you, she is such a sweetheart and a fellow geek, that meeting her just made me love her work even more! But enough about me…ahem!) As I paged through the projects, with each one I found myself muttering, “Oooooh….I want to make that….and that! Ooooh….look at THAT!” I have been guilty in the past of purchasing crochet books for 2 or 3 patterns, but I love ALL of these patterns! A self-professed hater of weaving in ends, Omdahl explores how to manipulate the yarn in what she calls a “journey of ways to move, meander, join & feature beautiful yarns.” 

Omdahl is well known for designing in finer weight yarns, and that is certainly evident in this title, but there are several projects in sportweight and worsted weight featured here. In total, there are 21 hook-worthy projects here for the discriminating crocheter. Want to buy it now? Click here!

Finally, we have Vintage Modern Crochet, by Robyn Chachula. At first glance, I thought all of the designs were by Robyn, but she has invited several of her stitchy pals to the party! (Even Kristin Omdahl. Did you know I am a fan? 😍)

The designers explore the vintage techniques of pineapple lace, Bruges lace, filet crochet, Irish lace and Tunisian crochet by breathing new life into these techniques. With the use of updated yarns, fibers, colors and playing with different weights, Vintage Modern Crochet lives up to its title. The application of the techniques is true to their history, but applied beautifully and stylishly to the 21st century. If you love vintage (and come on, who doesn’t?) click here to get your copy.

Now, in order to enter for the giveaways to win one of these titles, I am getting creative. In the past, I would only have the entry be official if you leave a comment here on the blog. That still works. But you can enter also by commenting and/or liking the post on my Atelier Renee’ Facebook page, sharing the post on Facebook, or tweeting/retweeting the blog post link on Twitter! Come on folks! This is my biggest giveaway yet! Help me spread the word!

Now, as for me, by this time next week I will be in Juneau, Alaska. I am going to give travel therapy a try. Would I like to get paid to travel? Yes, please! I will be working at the Ethel Lund Medical Center, helping to provide care for the Alaskan Natives. Right now, the plan is that I will be there for 8 weeks. I already have several adventures planned for while I am up there. Stay tuned here for pictures and stories of my adventures and see how I go about making life DIY!

Bon voyage and a gift for you!

UPDATE: we have a winner! Congratulations, Heidi! You are the winner! Everyone keep following the blog. There are even more book giveaways coming up!

I have been crrrrrrrazy busy lately! Work has been picking up, I am staying busy with my creative work, and in two days time, I will be saying Bon Voyage so that me and the posse can experience a new adventure. We will be setting sail on the Norwegian Dawn for a Caribbean cruise!

You know who else has been busy? My good friend, Brenda Bourg! She is a crochet and knit designer, as well as one of the most encouraging and positive people I know. What has she been busy with? You ask.


Brenda has designed a GORGEOUS collection of Fair Isle Tunisian crochet projects. The total count is 16 projects. The instructions are presented in both written and color charted form. There is an excellent reference on technique in the front of the book on all of,the necessary stitches. There are cowls, mitts, boot toppers, sweaters and afghans. Her color choices and motifs are beautiful. This book is a true labor of love, as Brenda wrote it, her sons did the photography and her beautiful daughter-in-law modeled all of the designs.

So here is my (really, our) gift yo you, faithful readers: while I am floating around the Caribbean, you good folks leave your comments here, and when I get back home on March 7th, I will randomly select a winner to receive a FREE COPY! If you don’t want to wait, click here to order a copy right now! Make something beautiful and make life DIY!

Book Giveaway! 

Update: We have a winner! Michele Lator Murray is the winner of the copy of Crafter’s Market 2016! Stay tuned…I have more book giveaways coming!

Howdy folks! I hope winter hasn’t gotten you too down in the dumps. Over here, I have been making up a storm! I opened a booth recently in a local artisan’s marketplace. On the weekends, my house looks like a yarn and fiber bomb has gone off! Along with that new venture, I also have lucked into an opportunity to review some craft books for the fine folks over at F+W. If you are a fiber artist, like myself, you may be familiar with some of their magazine lines, including Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, Spin Off and Handwoven.

Their book publishing division offers multiple craft related titles of all kinds; quilting, knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving…you get the picture…if it can be made, F+W probably has a book on how to do it.

But once you have made something, what then? If you are anything like me, you make for yourself, you make for gifts, but sometimes you just make, because, well, we just like making stuff. But once you begin making stuff that you have no home for, perhaps you have considered selling your work. What’s that, you say? You have no idea where to begin? Then you need a copy of Crafter’s Market 2016!


Filled with excellent tips from pros in the know, Crafter’s Market 2016, covers topics such as how to set up your business, how to promote your work using social media, how to exhibit at shows and festivals, and much, much more. There is even advice on bookkeeping for tax purposes as well as information pertaining to copyright issues. As someone who recently set up a local booth in an artist’s marketplace as well as reviving my online shop, I found a treasure trove of hints, tips and advice on how to market my work to get the most bang for my buck. Now as if all that wasn’t enough, you also get a free subscription to Artistsmarket Online so you can stay up to date.

F+W has generously agreed to provide a giveaway copy of Crafter’s Market 2016 to one of my lucky readers! All you have to do is leave a comment here on the blog. On Sunday 2/21/16 at 10:00 p.m. CST, I will select one lucky winner to receive their very own copy! If you can’t wait, however, until Sunday to find out if you have won, you can always go here to buy a copy! Good luck, and Make Life DIY!

Ice, snow, cold outside. Warm and happy inside!

So, haven’t chatted here in awhile. I went to bed with the sound of sleet and freezing rain beating a steady rhythm on my tin roof. I woke up to this today.

I know you folks up North are probably laughing right about now, but down South, we pretty much shut things down at the mere mention of ice or snow, but especially ice. After checking with my clients, none of them wanted to make the trek in to town to see me, so I have been keeping myself occupied.

I love this pattern! It is so satisfying to watch it develop. I am pretty sure I will keep this piece, rather than putting it up for sale in my new “shoppe”, Atelier Renee’. What’s that, you say? You didn’t know about my shoppe? Here’s a sneak peek.

I am branching out from Crochet Renee’ to Atelier Renee’ in order to embrace ALL the nifty things I make! I have been casting about for some time for a good name. I like Atelier, as it is French for “workshop”. Also, it still rhymes with Renee’! Winning! If you are local and want to go check it out, you can find me smack dab in the center of the Artisans Market at Interiors Marketplace in Mt. Home, Arkansas. Stay tuned, though, as I will be giving my Etsy site a facelift in the very near future! Exciting stuff going on around here. Also, I am making a pot of chicken chili.

 Recipe can be found here. Don’t know how it is going to taste yet, but it smells divine! Stay warm, ya’ll, and make life diy!

Making ready

With the forecast of 20 degrees Fahrenheit last night, I went into a flurry of activity yesterday. Lawnmower winterized? Check. Root crops pulled from the garden? Check. Cut some parsley and cutting celery for the freezer? Check.

The root crops included turnips, carrots and beets. There was one…interesting carrot…

I love all veggies, (except maybe Lima beans) but of all the root crops, I have a special fondness for beets. Especially pickled beets. My Mom couldn’t make enough pickled beets when I was a kid. Now that I am grown, I make my own.

The lovely ruby red color, the zesty spices, the overall yumminess of cracking open a jar of summer in the dead of winter. How could you not love pickled beets? I am staying cozied down by the wood fire while my jars process. There will probably be knitting going on, too.

 I love this country life! Stay warm, ya’ll, and make life diy!

Making a cozy nest

I have put off cleaning the wood stove of detritus, until this morning. I have nowhere I have to be right now. That is a luxury I have too little of. I finished another hat for my best friend last night. I mean to knit another one. But I have had this yarn in my stash for quite some time. I have looked on Ravelry several times for inspiration. This morning I found just what I was looking for. I found this:—josephine-shawl

It uses a self striping yarn. It is all in garter stitch. It begins with knitting at one of the pointy ends and grows outward, so you can use nearly every inch of beautiful yarn. It is a no-brainer kind of knit. Perfect. I usually have several levels of knitting and crocheting projects lurking about, from the sweet and simple, (like this project) to the kind of projects you don’t take out in public, because if you did, you would become hopelessly lost for all of the increases/decreases/acrobatic stitching that has to occur to get to the finished item. Or others around you would become certain you had Tourette’s or were losing your mind completely while mumbling to your hands. So for today, here by my cozy fire, I am going with simple. What are you all doing today? 

Stay warm, and make life diy!

Making friends, making amends, and unexpected random acts of kindness

So I know I haven’t blogged in awhile. Between starting a new job, trying to write a new pattern collection and just generally trying to find a new groove, blogging has been the least of my worries.

It has been nearly a month since my best friend found out she has breast cancer. We have all been trying to rally around her, doing what we can. While we can hold her hand on this journey, she is the one who has to walk it. I have known this woman for well over 30 years, yet we are true friends now; in school we were friendly, but not really friends. The same is true of the other two ladies that we hike with. Together, we form a posse, as we like to call ourselves. In the historical sense of a posse, we fight for truth, justice and to defend each other against the evil in this world.

This past week, I was also told by a friend of over 13 years, a friend that I thought would be in my life forever, that I was not holding up my end of the friendship. She was tired of all the one-sided friendships she had and didn’t need any more. This was after me sending her two emails inviting her to lunch. I had found out from a mutual acquaintance that she had been very ill, and so when I didn’t get a response to the first email, I sent her another, explaining that I had heard she had not been well and offered to help in some way. I suggested that I could bring her some meals. The response I got back set me back on my heels. There were lots of times I offered to help her around her house, with yard work, etc. Fiercely independent, she always turned me down. There were many handmade gifts given to her for birthdays and Christmases, which she reciprocated. I also knew I could give her nice things I had made because I knew she would value and care for them. Gifting something I have spent a lot of time on is one of my ways of showing people I care about how much I care. It is less about the thing than it is to say, “I cared enough to take the time to create something special for you.” It is just how my little maker’s heart and head are wired. After considering what my friend had to say, I realized that there may have been things I could have done better. But to end the friendship? I am still reeling some, but all I could do was wish her well and a return to health.

So, then on Friday, I came home after a long, tough work week to find a box in my mailbox. I hadn’t ordered anything that I could recall. Upon opening the package, I found this:

It was from Lee Smith, the winner of Mary Jane Hall’s book, Colorful Crochet Lace that I gave away here on the blog. Lee crocheted the lavender-filled heart. Her note was like a balm to my bruised ego and soul. Thank you, Lee, for the unexpected kindness. You have no idea how nice it was to receive your gift.

I hope you are all well. Love your friends, make amends where you can and if you can find some time, make the world a little better place by doing something nice for someone, and make life diy.

What’s up?

So, I know I have been neglectful to my readers of late. I started a new job in August and have been juggling a new schedule. On the DIY side of things, I have been spinning a lot, largely thanks to having joined a fairly new group on Facebook called A Spinner’s Study. Started by fiberista, Bren Boone, it is a lovely community of yarn spinners who have been very supportive of each other in their fibery explorations. So far I have participated in breed studies for Jacob and Shetland wool…

 I have also experimented with creating a singles yarn and a woolen yarn…

   In addition, I have added another post-apocolyptic life skill to my repertoire, which is band/tablet/card weaving. This is my first project, still on the loom. I have finished this and moved on to a second band, but don’t have any photos of that yet.
  That pretty much sums up what I have been up to lately. How about you? What have ya’ll been up to? Hope you are making life diy!

Colorful Crochet Lace Book Giveaway!


, , , , ,

UPDATE: We have a winner! Wlsmith, you have won the book! Email me at with your address and I will mail it out. Thanks for reading the blog!


In 2007, I had the yearning to design original crochet patterns. In my quest to do so, I joined The Crochet Guild of America (CGOA), which has a mentor program. I had the great good fortune to be assigned Mary Jane Hall as my mentor, who was very helpful in teaching me the ropes. Over the years, we have become good friends, oddly enough, without ever actually seeing each other face to face. At that time, Mary Jane was working on her debut book, Positively Crochet. In 2008, Mary Jane followed the success of PC with Crochet That Fits, revealing her pioneering technique of the Graduated Stitch Method, where crochet fabric can be shaped without using traditionAl increases and decreases. It has been a long time coming, but F&W has released her most recent book, Colorful Crochet Lace.

Mary Jane’s design sense is classically feminine without being too over-the-top frilly. In this collection, she has created 22 garments and accessories that are catwalk-worthy. Mary Jane follows and is inspired by current fashions, and this is evident in her work. In the introduction, she reveals that the designs in CCL were inspired by all things French, including architecture, gardens, culture and yes, Parisian fashions. I was challenged to make a project from the book, and as I am limiting myself this year to using what I have in my stash, I chose to make the LaFleur Doily Bag. I used a skein of mystery cotton blend sock yarn for this project and went down to a size D hook, thinking I would get a smaller bag than the one in the book. I used brown satin on the outside to line the bag and a really cute, steampunkish print on the inside.

The bag is still very generously sized, so it will make a great project bag. I also put 6 pockets inside. I essentially followed her clear directions for assembly. The only other mods I made were to braid my handle instead of crocheting it, and to leave the flower off and tie the handle on one side with two tassels. My handles could have been longer, but I literally used ALL of the skein. (Stash busted! Yes!) She does include the directions for a really cute rose to embellish the bag with, if you wish.

And guess what? YOU, dear readers, have a chance to win your very own copy of Mary Jane’s book, Colorful Crochet Lace! From now until 12 midnight Central Standard Time next Saturday, August 30th, leave a comment on why you would like to own a copy of Mary Jane’s book. The winner will be randomly selected after the deadline. In the meantime, run over to Amazon and preview the book here, and put it on your wish list…just in case you don’t win it, you know. Then it will be easy to go back and purchase a copy! Leave me a comment, good luck, and make life DIY!


The down side of being gone to Ireland for two weeks? The garden is over run by weeds and grass. With all the excess rain we have had, our veggie yield is not up to par with normal years.


But there are tomatillos. Which is a good thing, because I love salsa verde, and tomatillos have not done well the last two years. So these are washed and ready to go, but I am throwing them into the freezer today, to be made into salsa later. I have other irons in the fire today. But rest assured, there is a blog post on making salsa verde coming soon, on a blog near you! In the meantime,  if you haven’t entered to win the yarn package from Red Heart Yarns that I blogged about last time, go there now and leave a comment to enter!
Join me as I make life DIY.