Posted in Crochet and Yarney Things

The Number 1 Secret of Crafters, Artists and Makers

In my last post, I showed you some of my Works In ProgressWIP’s“. You can read that post here. Yes, that was me living my best life.

There is nothing more satisfying to a Maker than churning out one perfectly beautiful piece after another. In fact, we love this feeling so much that we all have list upon list of ideas of the things we want to make. We write lists, save inspiration photos and gather and stash supplies as if our very lives depended on it.

List-of-ideas
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This all sounds wonderful. We, as Makers, get to blissfully live out our dreams one project at a time.

This is not entirely true! We all have a BIG secret: It doesn’t always work out!

The trial and error of Making is sometimes huge as we continue to try to innovate and perfect each item. Sometimes these errors cause a lot of waste and in some cases a large stash of “unmades“.

amigurumi-attempts

Here is one of my stashes of “unmades“. These come from a time that I was trying to make what is called “amigurumi” which Wikipedia defines as:

Amigurumi (編みぐるみ, lit. crocheted or knitted stuffed toy) is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small, stuffed yarn creatures. The word is a portmanteau of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll.

They can be dolls, food, toys or whatever. Pictured here are my attempts at a brown mouse (see his cute pink ears!) and a seahorse that I tried in blue then white along with some buttons and beads for eyes. This photo also shows an experiment with crocheting some thread earrings.

Crochet-Virus-Shawl

This photo shows an unfinished “virus shawl”. Although it was not my first attempt at this pattern, and the first one came together beautifully, I think I got lost on this one and never had the desire to pick it up again. Since I believe I would have to unravel such a large amount of this one to fix it, I will probably unravel the whole thing and start something new with the yarn.

That’s one good thing about the process, in most cases, we attempt to reuse the supplies that just didn’t work out.

Ear-Flap-Hat

So, I made this really cute, really warm toddler ear flap hat. In the process of installing the ties, (which meant it was almost done), the hat started to unravel. I still don’t know what happened or why because I simply set it aside.

amigurumi-misfits

Last, but not least, is this group of misfits. The yellow duck and the bumble bee are finished, but nope, that’s not the look I was going for. Look at these cute Elmo shoes. I made these for my granddaughter, but they are a hot mess!! Also shown is yet another attempt at amigurumi which I actually got the face right that time, but it was going to be a sheep and I just couldn’t get those bobbles for the body right! Now, I make bobble blankets!! Go figure. And, more crochet thread earring attempts.

Although this is not a comprehensive view of what can and does go wrong in the studio, these are the things that did not “eventually” work. You can be sure that several attempts were made with each one before I walked away.

As Makers, we have what seems like an endless stash of supplies, Works in ProgressWIPs“, Unfinished ObjectsUFOs” and things that simply didn’t work. All of it is part of the attempt to make perfectly beautiful things. All of it is a part of our lives.

The point here is that Making is a process. You have to go into it knowing that you are going to make mistakes along the way. The blanket you make today is not going to look as neat and perfect as the one you make next year if you just stick with it. Don’t take yourself so seriously! Relax, and enjoy the journey.

Leave a reply below if you think I should pick up any of the above projects and give it another try.

Please also visit my Etsy shop (Black Ribbon Shop) where you will find lots of Cool Custom Creations.

Until next time,

Denise

 

 

Posted in Crochet and Yarney Things

What Have I Been Up To?

It happened.

I got bit.

Bitten by the crochet bug! (Again!)

Seriously, guys. I can’t stop crocheting! I don’t want to stop crocheting!

Let me show you what I’ve been up to.

Grandma loves You
“Grandma Loves You” crochet bobble blanket

When I first saw this type of bobble blanket, I just knew I had to learn how to make it. I have a thing for words and this kind of project is right up my alley. So, I made one for one of my 6 granddaughters. (She so appreciates the things I make for her!) I love that I am able to learn and practice and have a willing recipient for the successes. I also love that this technique has opened my mind for many other wordy type bobble blankets I can design on my own!

This blanket says “Grandma Loves You” and is now available in my Etsy shop here.

Works In ProgressWIPs

I was so excited about the success of the blanket above that I couldn’t wait to get started on another one customized for another granddaughter.

Now I Lay Me Blanket(2)
“Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” crochet bobble blanket

Both of these patterns were created by Nancy Liggins, but as you can see, this one allowed me to customize it with my granddaughter’s name. I made another significant change to this one by deciding to add rows of white bobbles to the top of the blanket. This was a happy accident. Can you believe that not only did I run out of yarn, but I could not find more in this beautiful pink color ANYWHERE??!! So, I did the next best thing. I went into design mode and the rows upon rows of bobbles is what I came up with. Any child would love the textured tactile feel of these cozy blankets. This one is not finished yet, but I’ll be glad to share it here when it is. Unfortunately, I ran out of the white yarn too, but it has been easy to re-stock {smile}.

What does one do when one runs out of the yarn they need for a current project? Why, start a new project, of course!

C2C Blanket(4)
“Corner to Corner” (C2C) Chimera crochet blanket

 

I bought this yarn specifically to learn how to stitch a Corner to Corner (C2C) blanket. The yarn I used is Mandala yarn by Lion Brand in the color way Chimera. The yarn is luscious. The stitch was easy to learn and master. And, the results are beautiful! My daughter has claimed this one, but I see many more C2C blankets in my future. I’ll be sure to share this one when it’s completed too! And, I’ll let you know when I post it in my Etsy shop.

What words or phrases would you like to see stitched into a blanket? What are some of your favorite colors and color combinations?

I plan to continue to blog about “yarney” things and my crochet journey for a while, so if you have questions or want me to cover something specific, leave a reply. I have a lot of ideas of things I want to share with you, so don’t forget to follow this blog so you don’t miss a beat.

Please also visit my Etsy shop (Black Ribbon Shop) where you will find lots of Cool Custom Creations.

Until next time,

Denise

Posted in Interior Design

How to Style a Fireplace Mantel

For the best effect, every room in your home should be decorated with a focal point in mind. The focal point of a room is where the eye is naturally drawn. If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, give a shout out to the focal point of that room! To make it pop, you will want to style your mantel to add to the wow factor.

There are several general ways to get to the wow of your fireplace mantel decor while keeping with your style and without looking too forced (unless that’s the look you want). There are also certain rules to follow in design of any kind. You want to keep these rules in mind no matter which way you choose to style your mantel.

Source Target

Styling Rules

Symmetry and Pairs.

The easiest way to convey balance and calm is repetition. Place two identical items on either side of a mantel, or choose ones with the same visual weight.

 

Color Balance.

Various objects with the same color will look like they belong together. Grouping by color keeps the arrangement from looking too busy or scattered.

 

Rule of Three.

A trio of accessories is always a safe bet. This trio can be comprised of items of different shapes, colors, heights, and materials to give the group a kick.

Rule of Three Mantel
Source Good Housekeeping

 

Height Changes.

Play with objects of different heights and weights such as art work paired with a small stack of books.

Negative Space.

Special objects need negative space while the less important items benefit from being grouped together so the beauty is in the grouping.

You can also stack and arrange objects by size from large to small.

Now that you know the basics of styling, I’ll give you some examples of How to Style Your Fireplace Mantel:

Overlap Artwork

Following the styling rules above, overlap artwork and anchor with candle holders.

fireplace mantel overlapped artwork

Establish a Theme

Such as a common color. This Spring mantel by Jenna Burger Design shows a creative use of turquoise.

Themed-color

Asymmetrical Arrangement

The same way that symmetry conveys balance and calm, asymmetry will convey a sense of excitement.

Asymmetrical-mantel-decor

 

Empty Frames

Place a few empty frames along with a few accessories and flowers or greenery. Don’t forget the styling rules!

empty-frames-fireplace-mantel

Easy

Hang a mirror in the middle and a sconce on either side. Place a large vase in front of the mirror and fill in the rest of the space with smaller accessories such as vases or candle sticks.

easy-fireplace-mantel-styling

Unique (and my favorite)

Layer a small mirror over a large one.

Hang a large plain mirror above the mantel, then place a smaller decorative mirror in front. Mirrors can make a space feel larger, so this is great for small spaces.

mirror-over-mirror-over-fireplace-mantel

Flat Panel TV Over the Mantel?

Recess the TV into the wall behind the fireplace and enclose it with bi-fold doors.

flat-panel-tv-enclosed-over-fireplace-mantel

Add Molding

Add character to the wall above your fireplace with molding. Paint the molding the same color as the wall. This frames the space above the mantel and draws the eye upward.

Paint

Paint the wall surrounding the fireplace a strong, striking color.

Built-Ins?

If your fireplace is flanked by built-ins, consider how they relate to the mantel and coordinate them.

fireplace-flanked-by-built-ins

High Ceilings?

Emphasize the height of a room by displaying a tall frame, mirror or art piece on the mantel for impact.

tall-mirror-over-mantel

Affordable

Try a decal to add interest without the cost of art. Make sure it’s not too small or not too large.

decal-over-fireplace-mantel

Mixing Styles

If, for example, your fireplace is rustic stone and your decor is modern, add some modern abstract art above the mantel that pulls from other colors in the room.

mixed-styles-rustic-modern

Get creative! Use your mantel to display items that reflect you and your interests!

Posted in Interior Design

Color Is Everything!

Color is a very important part of the design of interior spaces. In fact, color can make or break a design. Because of that, I will be writing about color in design regularly.

I thought it would be interesting to start with the color white. Very often, and especially when we move into a new home or space, we may not have taken the time to fully think through the colors we want to paint each room or space. We think, “I’ll just play it safe for now and paint everything white.” After all, white is simple. Isn’t it? Not to mention, some of us are afraid of color. Not color itself, but afraid of not using it correctly.

White Is Not Boring

Just as we use furniture placement and lighting, we also use color to create balance in a space. You may not be a fan of purple walls and red furniture, but when done tastefully with balance in mind, it can be a thing of beauty.

purple and red
Notice the while pillow used for balance

One very important thing to keep in mind though, is that the number of shades of white paint is alarming! It can be quite overwhelming to go into a paint store in search of white paint without a plan.

I’ll show you some examples. I’ve chosen to use the same room in all of the examples so you can see the subtle differences.

 

 

Here, we have Benjamin Moore’s Navajo White (OC-95). This hue is inherently sophisticated and endlessly versatile. It works well in tranquil environments. Navajo White is perfect for a country house or warm naturally-lit spaces.

 

 

Next up is Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace (OC-65). This is quite a universal paint color that creates a bright white space that is warm and welcoming rather than sterile and cold. It’s a crisp, clean white that reminds you of pure silk and soft linen.

 

 

Lastly, take a look at Benjamin Moore’s Chalk White (2126-70). This hue is a grey scale white that work well with both cool and warm toned spaces.

As you can see, the differences between these three are quite subtle. But, remember, there are thousands of shades of white paint to choose from. Once you’ve painted a room, or worse, a whole home with the wrong white paint, you will tire of it rather quickly!

By all means, do your research, call a consultant and go ahead and paint your home with the most beautiful white you can find. Don’t forget to be practical and maybe use white more sparingly if you have small children or pets.

Do you have any color questions? Leave a comment and follow this blog for answers to your decor dilemma.

Posted in Interior Design

Back to the Future!

We often talk about things coming “full circle” and we’re often amazed at how this develops. It just happened to me and I’m ecstatic! The really amazing part of it is that my previous blog posts have been somewhat chronicling these developments without me even knowing it.

In the beginning, I blogged about how I had discovered that:

All of the projects were aimed at creating beauty to Cause Happiness.

The very next blog post went on to further detail my self-discovery:

The road to happiness is so often a bumpy one. Full of setbacks, heartache and what we often assume is failure. We take detours hoping that if we just try something else, the answer will come. None of that has worked for me. I have decided instead to return to my bliss. To do that which makes me happy and brings me joy.

Now I know that all of it, every word, every idea, every project has led me to this day.

Many years ago, before we left New York, I completed the course work to certify as an Interior Designer. Although I researched every avenue I could think of, the information about how to start and run a solo practice was not forthcoming. The Interior Design industry has long had a reputation for being very secretive.

Blue wingback chair in a blue room.

After we moved to North Carolina and I obtained my Real Estate license, I thought it was enough just to be in the homes and surrounded by great decor. We attended Charlotte HomeArama, which is a luxury home showcase, every year. In one distinctive setting, the newest trends in home technology, interior design, and outdoor living were showcased. One of my first sales as a Realtor, was that of a 100 year old historic home and my husband was awarded the job to do the rehab. Oh happy day! I, of course, did all of the design work and it was, to date, one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. However, when that was done, what I thought was practicality dictated that I continue to focus on real estate.

Fast forward a few more years, and I heavily considered Home Staging as an add on to my real estate career. I quickly put that aside as the real estate market became volatile and our focus turned to the sale of distressed property.

The Joy of Bliss picks up where I left off with real estate. Yes, I am about to return to the world of Interior Design! My focus will be on making interior design accessible and affordable for everyone to suit the busy lifestyles that so many people have these days. All of this will be made possible through the power of technology.

Follow The Joy of Bliss so you don’t miss the unfolding of this venture and pick up a few decorating tips along the way!

What is your current decorating dilemma?

 

Posted in quilting

Quilting Bliss

Sometimes when you are crafting or creating, there seems to be an endless list of supplies you will need (especially if it is a new craft that you’ve never tried). This happened to me again when attempting to complete my first quilt that I wrote about in the last blog post. You can read that here.

While I was waiting for more supplies to arrive, I decided to start on another quilt project. There are many sizes of pre-cut fabric to choose from that makes it slightly easier to piece your quilt. However, I didn’t want to invest in more pre-cuts just yet, so I looked at and thought about some yardage I already had that I bought for a completely different project. The pattern I chose for this new quilt had so many pieces! Would I really be able to cut all of these pieces correctly? How much fabric would I waste? I was worried! Then, I got a sudden burst of courage and went for it!

Not too bad for a first-timer!

Now that my courage was up, I was determined to take my time and piece these pieces just right.

Quilty2

I’m liking this layout and I think this will work with my vision. I reminds me of the old time quilts that Grandma used to make. Well, now that I am a Grandma …

Quilty

Here, the piecing of the strips are done and laid out on my queen size bed! This picture was taken before I sewed the strips together. Wow! Did I do that?

I plan to add two borders to this before it is complete. I can’t wait to see the finished project. Stay with me and subscribe to my blog to see the continued progress of this and many other projects that I can’t wait to share with you!

Posted in Uncategorized

Return to Bliss

The road to happiness is so often a bumpy one. Full of setbacks, heartache and what we often assume is failure. We take detours hoping that if we just try something else, the answer will come. None of that has worked for me. I have decided instead to return to my bliss. To do that which makes me happy and brings me joy. I am so happy you are coming along for the ride.

Quilting

Several years ago, I got the urge to learn to make quilts. I had been sewing for quite some time, but I was looking for that something else that would allow me to be fully immersed in the cotton fabric I had fallen so in love with. My birthday gift that year was a large haul of beginning quilting supplies. I was so excited to be working on my very first quilt. Needless to say, nothing was perfect. Then I discovered that I needed even more stuff! I got discouraged and distracted.

However, I have finally finished the quilt top for this project.

IMG_1964

I am so proud of myself! The coordinating backing fabric just arrived today and I have purchased the other components to finish this “picnic” sized quilt. Subscribe to The Joy of Bliss to see the progress!

What project are you working on that is bringing you joy?

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Cause Happiness

BLISS

noun:  perfect happiness; great joy.

synonyms:  joy, happiness, pleasure, delight, ecstasy, elation, rapture, euphoria

verb:  informal

reach a state of perfect happiness, typically so as to be oblivious of everything else.

Hello readers. My name is Denise Morris and I am bursting with joy! Don’t get me wrong, this in no way means I have a perfect life. Nor does it mean that I am perpetually happy. What it does mean is that I have learned to look for what makes me happy and to Focus on The Joy in life.

My interests have seemed scattered for most of my life which has left my family and friends confused and shaking their heads at times as I announce my next “new” obsession. Sometimes even I wondered if it was “normal” to flit from project to project enjoying each one more than the last.

Recently, I began to understand that my interests were not scattered at all. Rather, they were all a part of one theme. All of the projects were aimed at creating beauty to Cause Happiness.

Cause Happiness
Cross Stitch Zippered Pouch Purse Cause Happiness

I have learned that I am not only causing happiness for myself when I create, but I am offering to bring this happiness, this joy to others as I do so.

Come with me so we can experience the Joy of Bliss together. Everyone needs a bit of beauty, joy and happiness in their lives each day. Come on, I’ll show you.