My first CHA show

Sunset view out the plane window

Forgive me dear readers for being so tardy with my first post this week. I’ve been recovering from this past weekend. I made a quick trip to Phoenix, Arizona to attend the CHA (Craft & Hobby Association) Trade Show.  I took a flight out of Denver early Saturday morning and flew back at sunset Sunday. It was a super busy time while I was there.


The primary reason I went was to attend the Saturday evening Bloggers Networking Event hosted by Prime Publishing. There I met a number of vendors and picked up some awesome swag to try out their products.


This is a photo of my pile of goodies. It doesn’t represent everyone that was there. Just some of the crafting supplies that I came home with from this event.


The gals from Scrapbook Adhesives also had this insanely huge adhesive runner. I had to have a picture of them with it so you could see how oversized it was.

Leisure Arts were giving away samples of their new oval shaped knitting loom, unfortunately they ran out. I’ll be getting one in a couple of weeks and hope to do a review of it. The line for the Leisure Arts table was very long, but I did get a moment to visit with them. On Sunday I went by their booth and was excited to see my “Texting Mitts” book in the rack of books on display.


While I was on the show floor both Saturday and Sunday I got to see so many fascinating  products. When I visited the Clover Tools booth, I saw my friend Eloise, who was demonstrating knitting and crochet. She had their awesome new stitch markers.


These markers come in 3 different sizes and are shaped to look like sheep, including a little curling horn on their heads. They are super light weight and the smallest size would be ideal to use for working with lace-weight yarns.


There were lots of Make-and-Take opportunities. One of my first stops was to check out the Deco-Foil display. The woman there showed me how their foil papers could be used on embossed adhesives thru an ordinary laminator by making this little heart for me. This would be a great idea for making valentines for school exchanges.

Fuseworks Microwave kiln - image from catalog
Fuseworks Microwave kiln – image from catalog

One of the other products I wanted to check out was at the Diamond Tech booth, a glass fusing kiln that you use in your microwave. I’ve always wanted to learn more about working with hot glass, but have been prohibited by the cost of kilns or even kiln fees (plus driving distance). The pendants that they were making in the demonstration were really nice and I am seriously wanting to get their “Beginner’s Fusing Kit” this year.

Fuseworks Beginners Kit - image from catalog
Fuseworks Beginners Kit – image from catalog

Just to make things even more tempting they sent me home with a catalog of all their fun glass project stuff. Various mosaic tools and glass, glass cutting tools, Lampworking tools and sets, plus the glass fusing tools and sets. Oh yeah, I’m in big trouble.

I’m planning on doing a lot more illustration work this year, and was very interested in the Chameleon Pens booth. They were giving away single colortone pens for folks to try them out.


I really like this pen, it is a great tool for creating watercolor style effects when adding color to my drawings. I also tried out their new color pencils. I’ll be sharing a lot more about these tools come summer. You can check out more about their products at their website: They also have a Kickstarter fundraiser going until February 17 for their new Color tops product that works with the colortone pens.


My nearly last stop on Sunday was at the Alumilite Booth to look at their brand of “Amazing, Casting Products”. I’ve always loved mold making and casting. They had a wonderful range of products for both endeavors and were kind enough to provide me with a small sample of their 2 part mold putty. I can hardly wait to play with it.

Well, now you know why I’ve been so distracted since I got back from Phoenix. There is a lot to absorb after such an inspiring weekend. I’ve been spending hours trying to capture all my ideas. There has also been the usual catching up with the family and the household after a trip.

I had hoped to get my video for the Shells on the Aegean Neck Cozy finished this week, but that has been delayed with all this other stuff happening. Instead I’m aiming for having the new video up by next Tuesday, January 31st. Wow, we have less than one week of January left! Looks like 2017 is going to be rocketing along.


Shells on the Aegean Neck Cozy


It has been so cold the last couple of weeks that I thought it was time for a warm neck cozy pattern. Because it buttons to fasten around your neck, this snuggly short scarf takes less yarn than a full size scarf.  Just a little under 315 yards of worsted weight yarn. I used Caron Yarns “Simply Soft” for the sample you see.


This is all I had left of the 1 skein I used. That is a U.S. Quarter next to it to give you a frame of reference.

Here is the Pattern:

Shells on the Aegean Neck Cozy

Designed by Andee Graves

SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate


Neck Cozy is 13.25”/ 33.125cm wide (lace scarf section) x 30”/ 75cm long.


Caron Simply Soft (100% Acrylic; 315 yds/288m = 6 ounces/170.1g)

#9767 Royal Blue: 1 skein sample used nearly all of skein


Size US I-9 / 5.5mm


Yarn needle

1 – 1” button (shank style works best)


5 rows & 4 sts in single crochet = 1”


Shell Stitch (Shl): (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in indicated st or sp.

V-stitch (V-st): (dc, ch 2, dc) in indicated st or sp. 

Picot stitch (picot): Ch 3, sl st in top of previous st. If you need help with the making the picot stitch I have a tutorial here on the blog.


Pattern Notes

This Neck Cozy is worked in 2 parts, the Button Band and the Lace Scarf.

Be sure to work the base chain loosely for ease of working into the bottom of the foundation row when crocheting the lace scarf part of project. If having problems keeping the chain loose enough, use a hook one size larger to make the chain then switch to the smaller hook for the rest of the project.

When counting stitches for skipping, chain stitches count as one stitch each.


Button Band

Row 1 (RS): Ch 32, working in back bumps sc in 2nd ch from hook and each ch back to beginning. [31 sc]

Row 2: Ch 1, turn, sc in each st to end of row. [31 sc]

Row 3: Repeat Row 2.

Row 4: Ch 7 (creates button loop), turn, sc in each st to end of row. [31 sc, 1 ch-7 loop]

Rows 5 & 6: Repeat Row 2 twice.

Row 7: Ch 1, turn, sc in next 31 sts, (button loop finishing) picot, [(2 dc, picot) 6 times, 2 dc] into ch-7 loop, sl st to end of Row 1. DO NOT Fasten off.

Lace scarf

Row 1: (Working along bottom of foundation of button band Row 1) Ch 3, 3 dc in first st, ch 1 (sk 2 sts, V-st in next st) 9 times, ch 1, sk 2 sts, 3 dc in last st. [9 V-sts, 2 ch-1 sps, 6 dc]

Row 2 (RS) : Ch 3, turn, sk 1 st, 3 dc in next st, ch 1, (Shl in next ch-2 sp, V-st in next ch-2 sp) 4 times, Shl in next ch-2 sp, ch 1, sk 3 sts, 3 dc in next st. [5 Shls, 4 V-sts, 2 ch-1 sps, 6 dc]

Row 3: Ch 3, turn, sk 1 st, 3 dc in next st, (ch 1, V-st in next ch-2 sp, ch 1, Shl in next ch-2 sp) 4 times, ch 1, V-st in next ch-2 sp, ch 1, sk 5 sts, 3 dc in next st. [5 V-sts, 4 Shls, 10 ch-1 spcs, 6 dc]

Rows 4: Ch 3, turn, sk 1 st, 3 dc in next st, (ch 1, Shl in next ch-2 sp, ch 1, V-st in next ch-2 sp) 4 times, ch 1, Shl in next ch-2 sp, ch 1, sk 3 sts, 3 dc in next st. [5 Shls, 4 V-sts, 10 ch-1 sps, 6 dc]

Rows 5 – 50: Alternate repeating Rows 3 & 4, 22 times.

Row 51: Ch 1, turn, sc in each of next 3 sts, (*sl st in ch-1 sp, sc next 2 sts, sk next st, 5 sc in next ch-2 sp, sk 1 st, sc in next 2 sts, sl st in ch-1 sp,* sk next st, 5 sc next ch-2 sp, sk 1 st) 4 times, repeat from * to * once, sc in each of last 3 sts. Fasten off. [71 sc, 10 sl sts]


Weave in ends. Block lightly, if desired.

Sew button to RS of button band on Row 4 at opposite end from button loop.

Checking off one of my 2017 Resolutions!

I’m a little proud of myself right now. Sadly, very often my New Year’s Resolutions sort of slide off into the mist of time as the year rolls along. This year I’ve already made one resolution happen and February is still nearly half a month away.

In my first post of 2017 I shared 5 resolutions. #2 was to open my Etsy Shop, and late Sunday night I made it happen. I have started with 5 listings. It all was a bit stop and go on Sunday evening, attempting to get the shop up, because our internet was being difficult (the joys of living on a mountain).

I’ve opened my shop with some jewelry listings.

When I learnt about the idea of wearing a safety pin as a symbol of solidarity I loved the concept. I wanted my safety pin to stand out a bit more and these decorated safety pins are what came from that. Each pin has beaded wire wrapping along bar opposite the “pin” part.




I experimented with the color of wire I used for the wrapping with the Rainbow colored glass beads. There is a bright silver wire (that I found out today is actually tarnish resistant silver-plating), nickel silver and bright gold.


I also experimented with using different size beads, like the seed beads on this pin.


This pin was my experiment with a subtler decoration. Still more noticeable than a plain safety pin because of the silver sparkle, but it is a coloration that can go with any outfit.

2/3 of the price for each pin sold will be donated to various organizations that support and help protect civil rights for all Americans. I’ll be adding more pins with different decoration as I develop my shop further, I also plan to have some stitch markers and shawl pins. I hope you’ll stop by and see if any of my pieces appeal to you. You can visit my Etsy Shop by clicking here: Mamas2Hands, Two Hands Arts & Crafts.



More Books and Fiber to Play With

It’s been a busy week since my last post. I’ve been working on 5 different things all at the same time, a couple of them were to do with opening my Etsy Shop.  I have set the 15th of January as my goal for getting my shop open, that is tomorrow. Eek!

I may only have a couple of listings when I open my shop, but I figure you have to start somewhere. Funny thing is, the making items part is actually the easy task. It’s the getting all the information online and figuring out how to do all the listing stuff that slows me down. I’m hopeful that once I’ve gotten some practice listing items on there I will be faster.

Meanwhile there is yarn and fiber stuff happening too. Last night I was getting ready to do reading time with my boys and my husband said, “Oh I forgot, you got a huge box in the mail.” Then he handed me the box.  It was from my friend Pam in New Jersey.

We spoke on the phone a few weeks ago. She was doing some clearing out and she wanted to see if I would like any of the stuff she was getting rid of. At first I said “No” because my own studio needs a serious clear-out. She wasn’t giving up that easy though, and began to tell me about some books she thought I would like.  She also knows I have been doing needle-felting and offered some roving and felting tools that she thought I would find useful. Plus, as she put it, the roving would make good packing material for the books.


By the end of the conversation I had agreed that the books sounded very interesting. Here they all are: 3 books about crocheting with wire, 1 about wire-wrapping, and the last is any interesting book about Textile Techniques in Metal. She even included a couple of articles from Bead & Button issues that were about crocheting with wire. Very distracting and fun.


Then there was the colorful bag of roving.


I was expecting wool roving, but Pam included some lovely alpaca and silk as well.


Look at this beautiful stack of hand-dyed silk hankies. Pam and I have similar tastes in colors, so these just about jumped out of the bag into my hands. I haven’t played with silk in this form before, though I have read about it.


Last of all was a handy Needle-Felting tool from FeltCrafts. This will be very useful when I am working on some of my larger projects.  I’m looking forward to testing it out. Don’t you love the fun little container it came it? It is really nice when one can keep all the sharp things gathered up.

I am very glad that Pam talked me into acquiring these new goodies, now I just have to behave myself and get some of the other stuff on the Mutant To-Do List done before I play with them.


Where did my MoJo Go?

Seems like all that traveling for the holidays is catching up with me this first week of the new year.  I’ve had a difficult time settling and sticking to any task. This was not helped by our busy weekend. We were celebrating my oldest’s 14th birthday. Wow! Hard to believe my sweet little baby is so grown up.

They had a couple friends come up Friday after school to spend the night. It was a very full house. Saturday afternoon Himself took them back down to Boulder to their homes and I had the house to myself for a few hours. I spent most of it clearing up the chaos though.

Sunday we took the kids plus another friend to see the “Fantastic Beasts” movie, then picked up pizza and wings to take home for dinner. Suddenly it was time to get ready for the coming school week and the weekend was mostly over.

One of the things I’ve been working on has been trying to organize my supplies and tools for making jewelry and such for my coming Etsy Shop. I’ve also been online learning what I need to do and attempting to get all the information filled out for my shop.

About a week before we left for our trip I had placed a couple of orders for supplies from Fire Mountain Gems. Unfortunately with the seasonal post office slow-down, I didn’t get my packages until our return. It was a bit like an extension of Christmas though, opening the boxes and looking thru all the goodies.

It’s always a bit tricky ordering supplies online, when I am purchasing something new-to-me I can’t be certain what it is really like until I receive it. Fortunately Fire Mountain has a decent return policy though, so most of the time it works out.


I purchased some additional tools; metal stamps and beading clips.


Then there were beads and charms.


Plus a wide variety of metal blanks for stamping.

I’ve been doing some metal stamping, it’s going to take quite a bit of practice to become familiar with the right amount of force needed. It all depends on the size of the stamp and the density of the blank. I’m enjoying learning a new skill and exploring the options when things turn out differently than I had in mind.

I haven’t had very much time to do much in the way of crocheting. I’m working on a few patterns, but they are still in the super secret stage.  Look for a new pattern here on the blog later this month, and if all goes well I’ll also have a new video and paid pattern before January ends.

Writing this all up I realize that I’ve been doing more than I realized. Just the length of the Mutant To-Do List makes me think I’m spinning my wheels. Turns out I must have some mojo going after all. Hooray!

Hope you are all having an energetic start to 2017.

2017 is Here!


I hope everyone’s New Year has started off well. Ours is beginning with cold and snow. As you may have noticed, I took a little break from posting on the blog. The boys have been on their Winter Break from school and I’ve been enjoying some family-time. Far too soon these 2 will be too grown-up to want to hang-out with their folks, I figure I better take every minute I can now. Today they are back in school and I am playing catch-up.

We did a lot of traveling to visit family during the boys’ school break.  We celebrated Christmas on Christmas eve and day with my husband’s family in Ohio. The Tuesday after, we headed to Kansas to celebrate with my Dad, brothers and niece.

There was a lot of driving on this trip. Driving to Dayton, Ohio is a 20 hour drive from our house, so we break it up in 2 10-hour sections. We drove to Topeka, Kansas the first day then on to Dayton the next day. That was 2 days of pretty much solid driving. I spent part of the drive time finishing some crochet design samples. I’ll be sharing those patterns with you over the next couple of months. We were very lucky that the weather was unseasonably warm and clear, so no frightening roads or getting stuck along the way.


We made a stop in Hays, Kansas the first day at the Sternberg Museum and met up with my nephew, his wife and their new little baby. I got to give the baby her bottle and get in some great cuddles with her and hugs with her parents. I hadn’t seen my nephew since he was a little kid, he towers over me now.



Christmas Eve we drove around Lincoln Park in Kettering to look at the lights. The weather was warm enough that the boys and I ran around the lit pathways.


The morning of the 27th we left Ohio to drive to Topeka, Kansas. The weather was a little cooler, but it was clear and sunny out. Always sad saying good-bye to my Mother and Father-in-law, but the boys were looking forward to seeing their cousins and uncles.

We spent 3 nights in Topeka, to have some visiting time with my Dad, brothers and niece. Wednesday we had lunch with my niece and then played at the park with my great niece and nephew while my niece went to her doctor’s appointment. It was such fun playing with the kids. My great niece loved having us push her on the swings, while my great nephew was having a terrific time playing “hide-and-seek” with the boys.

Afterward we went to my Dad’s to have dinner with him and my younger brother, Cy. On the drive Tuesday I had gotten a text from Cy that he and Dad had a Christmas gift for me that I “must” take home with me.


He texted me a photo too. Oh Boy.  So we were really looking forward to at least meeting the “gift”, though I wasn’t too sure about bringing it home with us.


I got in some cuddles with the kitten, but we all decided she was better off with my Dad and Cy. Their dogs were getting along with her well and we were really uncertain about how she would do with our big cat at home.


Not to mention that some serious “kitten-proofing” needs to happen at our house before I would feel comfortable bringing a new kitten home. It was tricky getting a photo of her as she was quite active even when I was holding her.


The next day my older brother and his kids joined us at the hotel. All the kiddos played in the pool, then we had a pizza party for lunch. After lunch we headed out to see the latest Star Wars movie. Then we all went back to the hotel and played some board games and swam a little more. Finally had to say good-bye to the cousins as we would be heading out in the morning for the drive back to Colorado.


The drive home to Colorado went by fairly quickly. Once again the weather was staying clear and warmer than one would expect during the last week of December. We made a few stops for meals and gas, but got home before 8 p.m. Mountain Time.

It’s good to be back on the mountain. I’ve been taking down the Christmas decorations and sorting out all the laundry from our trip. Hard to believe 2016 is over now, hopefully I can catch up with myself before I fall too far behind in this new year.

I have a few resolutions this year:

  1. Learn to do Calligraphy. This is something I have always admired and I’ve some ideas for art work that combines words and images. I want the words to be as beautiful as the images.
  2. Open my Etsy Shop. My plan is primarily to sell art and jewelry pieces, but I may also have some crochet patterns for sell thru my shop. This will be an experiment. Some of the items I will be selling will be related to resolution #3.
  3. Clear out a lot of the clutter. Use up a good chunk of my art and crafting stash. Get rid of out grown clothing and other excess in the house that is just taking up space.
  4. Make more videos for my YouTube Channel. Not just “how-to” ones, but ones for entertainment/inspiration too.

Happy New Year to all my readers, I hope your 2017 is full of joy and health.