Pineapple C2C Crochet Banner

IMG_2591I have a friend, who sells stuff that she sews through facebook, and she’s REALLY good! I was blessed to have her precious daughter as one of my students last school year, and received a couple of her products as gifts. I’ve also purchased some of her products to give to my own children’s teachers as gifts, and I have not been disappointed. Seriously, go check out her work on Purple Pineapple Pizzaz, you will not regret it!

Free pattern from Stuff Steph Makes

Anyways, when I was perusing pinterest a couple weeks ago in preparing for the new year, I came across this adorable pineapple banner, and I just knew I had to make a purple one for her! However, I immediately had a problem with it: I have never attempted C2C crochet before (corner to corner). So, this post is my personal opinion about C2C just as much as it is a review of this particular pattern!

So, while I was in the car for 14 hours traveling back home after the holidays, I grabbed my yarn, my hook, and my computer, and I learned this new crochet technique. Now that I’ve given the finished product to my friend, I can show you guys the picture and talk about my experience a little bit. I mean, I did not want to give away the surprise, did I?

If you’ve never done corner 2 corner crochet before, I actually recommend it. It’s fairly simple, but does require a bit of thought and concentration. I did not have access to a printer (I was out of town during the Christmas/new year time), which made it a bit more difficult for me. So, print out your graph pattern, and mark off your rows as you go, and indicate which direction you are going with little arrows. It can easily get confusing. There were a couple of times that I had to rip out 3-4 rows when I got off, and for something that really *looks* straight forward and easy, that was frustrating for me.

I didn’t like that I couldn’t “carry the yarn” with me and had to have so many different little balls of yarn floating around. If you aren’t extra careful, you could easily end up with a very tangly mess, and I was just playing with two different colors. More color changes would mean more tails to weave in, and we all know how much no one enjoys that! I actually ended up snipping the yarn at every color change and then knotting the pieces together on the back. I know it’s a big no-no in crochet, but for something like this that will be hanging with a very clear back and obvious front, I think it’s ok.

There wasn’t any explanation about how to achieve the pointed look at the bottom of the banner. Since I am a designer, and I can easily see stitches and patterns and predict the craft a little bit, I could figure it out with minimal frogging. BUT, I also know from experience, that a LOT of very talented crochet artists have difficulty visualizing these things without written instructions. So, that’s a negative for this particular pattern.

IMG_2592I did not use the recommended yarn or hook size. I used red heart super saver (my favorite!), red heart ombre, and a size g hook. So, not huge differences from what the pattern suggests, and my end result is quite large. It’s actually much larger than I would have preferred…but oh well. I still really like how it turned out.

Overall, I enjoyed the process, I might attempt some C2C crochet in the future, depending on what patterns/graphs are already in existence, but I’m not going to be designing any of my own patterns based off of this technique. There are some really cool patterns already out there, and I know a lot of people really like how simple it is.

So, do you LOVE C2C, or are you like me and just “meh” about it? Leave me a comment and let me know!


2 Week’s Worth of Facebook Posts

Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 9.49.18 PMAfter that big long post about all of the cool things that I was planning to do for my business, and not a bit of it has gotten done yet. I tell you, it is HARD to balance life sometimes! But, I decided to take this evening, and just schedule out all of my facebook posts for the rest of this month. It took me 2 hours, and I don’t have a post for every single day of the next 2 weeks…but I don’t really want a new post every single day. I also created a few etsy sales and promos to go along with a few of the posts, and it took me a little bit of time to figure out how to do all of that.

So, today is the 14th, which means tomorrow is the 15th. The first thing that I decided on, was a once monthly flash sale where everything in my etsy shop was discounted 50%…this code is ONLY available to my facebook fans…so if you are interested, then you gotta go like the facebook page 😉 I decided to call this thing “50 on the 15th”, so every month, on the 15th, there will be a similar flash sale where everything in my etsy shop is discounted WITH the coupon code. I am on top of the ball and already scheduled this out for the rest of the year with etsy! I was only able to schedule facebook posts until June…but it’s finished for the first half of the year!

The next thing I did was to schedule monthly promotions for all of my facebook fans. Every month there will be a new code that people can use in my etsy shop for $2.00 off any crochet pattern that they choose. This will go on for the entire month, and once again, requires a coupon code that is only available to my facebook fans. Seriously, if you aren’t on my facebook page, you are missing out!!

Another thing that I did to fill up the rest of January’s “calendar” was to look over the patterns that I already have. A couple of years ago (right before I got my full-time job), I had started making these quick little kawaii-type crochet patterns that coincided with national day holidays. For example, January 23rd is National Handwriting Day, and I have some little emoji-styled pencils and paper crochet patterns already made up. So, on the 23rd, there will be yet another flash sale for these little patterns. I actually have 3 of them schedule during the last half of January.

The rest of my January calendar was scheduled with a couple of cute memes, hopefully I can release Michigan’s flag pillow, and a poll asking my facebook fans which state pillow they would like to see next (Oklahoma or Pennsylvania), and I will be posting a few of my blog posts on there as well. I’m sure that February will look a little bit different, because I didn’t get a ton of those national day crochet patterns worked up, but it’s at least a place to start! I will work on scheduling February’s posts at another day, because WHEW! After a very long day (where I got unexpectedly pulled from my normal position to sub in 2nd grade), I am tired.

New Year, New Business Plan!

I took a break from creating last year when I made the choice to go back to school to get my bachelor’s degree in Special Education. Working full-time as a kindergarten special education paraprofessional (assistant), taking care of my little family (three school-aged children, and my mother-in-law, who lives with us), teaching bible class every Sunday, being the moral and emotional support for my husband (who is a minister/preacher), and the addition of classes towards my bachelor’s degree was more than enough for me to handle. I have still picked up my hook from time to time, but it has definitely been a hobby over the past year.

Anyways, I will be taking a bit of a break from my school later on this year. Actually, I’ll be finished with my core classes, and just waiting until I can start student teaching in August/September. Since I won’t be able to get paid for my student teaching (16 weeks), and I’ll essentially be job-less, my hope is to get a bit of revenue coming in from designing crochet patterns to help support my family during this time. So, I’m back and I’m ready to get going!

I thought I would take a minute to share my business plan with you guys, in hopes of keeping me accountable, and so that I can get ya’ll excited about it too!! The first thing that I’m going to do, and I’ve already started working on it, is to update everything. The etsy shop needs to be updated and renewed, the facebook page needs to be cleaned up a bit, and I probably have some fees and dues to take care of on ravelry. It’s also going to take some doing to get my instagram back up and running again. I also would like to research snapchat a little bit, but I’ve little idea how that works, so that’s tentative.

img_2851-1Next, my goal is to continue working on the state flag pillows that I started a couple of years ago. I already have Tennessee, Texas, Florida, and Kentucky finished. Oklahoma is about halfway done, if I can find the pattern that I started so long ago, haha! There is no way that I can get all 50 states done…that’s like a completed pattern every week. BUT, if I can manage 15 states, I think that’s a lofty goal. So, if you have any suggestions or ideas or desires of which state you would like to see me do, by all means, leave a comment, and I’ll add it to the top of my list!

I think that’s it. A two-fold business plan, and lots of prayers! Afterall, I wouldn’t even have this talent to begin with if it weren’t for God’s gracious gifting of it to me 🙂 I think ya’ll should follow along on my blog, get updates on the patterns as I work on them, and probably some crazy stories about how I manage everything, because it’s sure to be a crazy and hectic year!

Mailing your Doodle Bug drawing

A lot of care and patient went into drawing the perfect picture. In order for FamilyBugs to convert this picture into a stuffed doll, we kind of need it. We need to be able to precisely match colors, and sizing, and proportions. You have the choice to scan and email us the drawing, or mail the drawing to us via snail mail, It would be a right shame if that picture didn’t make it to us in decent fashion. So, we’ve included some *suggestions* that you may choose to follow, or not.

The quickest and easiest for you option is to scan the drawing, and email it to us. We will then print it off in full color and use it to create your doll. There are a lot of stages here that the coloring and sizing can be skewed. If “close enough” is acceptable to you, go for it! If you desire perfection, follow the directions below.

  1. The best option is to photocopy the original drawing. Go to a printing store, have them do it professionally. Make sure that the colors are all right.
  2. Protect the page with plastic. Laminate it, use plastic sheet protectors, whatever suits your fancy.
  3. Use an envelope that will fit the page without having to bend or crease it in any way. You can find document envelopes at Walmart.
  4. Maybe insert some cardboard or other thick card stock into the envelope with your drawing to add some rigidity to the package.
  5. Print in large clear letters “Do Not Bend” on the outside of the package to further discourage the possibility of damages.
  6. Don’t forget to include any notes about the drawing that we may need to make it perfect! Also let us know if you will need the drawing returned.
  7. Address the envelope, stamp it, send it off.
  8. Let us handle the rest. 😇

Information Needed For Your Own Doodle Bug

Make notes to clarify what you want from the drawing.

If you have decided to purchase a Doodle Bug, and just want to make sure that FamilyBugs has all of the necessary information to make the perfect Doll, this is a great place to be! Not only do we love creating a precious doll out of your incredible pictures, but we definitely want to get it as close to perfect as we can.

Please provide any additional information you think we may need about the drawing when it is mailed to FamilyBugs. You can make a photocopy to write directly on, use post-it notes, or painter’s tape as shown in the example below.

  • Are there any areas of questionable color? Look closely, sometimes a heavier coloring hand can make it just seem like it’s a darker or even different color.
  • Legs are tricky, do you want them as drawn, or made in 3D so that your doll can stand on its own?
These two animals were drawn in very similar styles. The one on the left has the legs created as-drawn. The one in the right has been made in a more 3D style,
  • What about symmetry? Do you want those ears to be the same on both sides, or should we depict the shape and size differences from the drawing to the doll as well?
  • It’s a flat drawing, so does the other side look exactly the same, or is it different somehow?
  • Are any of the pieces removable? Maybe a hat, or clothing item, or an accessory of some sort.

Doodle Bug Sizing Requirements

So, there is a drawing that you would like turned into a doll? You have definitely come to the right place! We strive to create a doll as true to the original drawing as possible, and we need a few specifications met so that we can strive as close to perfection as possible!

  • Legs, arms, and appendages must be at least 1 cm in width. We cannot make or stuff anything much smaller than that. If your drawing has some legs that are thinner and some that are fatter, we will make the necessary adjustments within the 1 cm requirement. In the example below, all legs were made the same size. Please, nothing fatter than 8 cm, thank you.

Legs are JUST within the 1 cm width

  • Tails, hair, or other fuzzy additions to the drawing may be thinner. Note that these will not be stuffed and will remain flexible and floppy. If arms, legs, or appendages have been drawn as single lines, they will be recreated as string for the doll.

This tail is flat, and bendy

  • Please, nothing much fatter than 8 cm. That is still a pretty large drawing and doll.

This guy was just under 5 cm

  • We also ask that no body part be much longer than 20 cm. It must all fit on a standard 8.5″x11″ sized piece of paper

His whole body measured out to 16 cm. A perfect size!

  • It is recommended that drawings be made on standard 8.5″x11″ paper sizes
  • If there is a drawing that you just REALLY want converted to a doll, but it is not within our recommended measurements, all is not lost! We will simply charge an additional fee of $30, with 3-days longer processing time.

This elephant was all over a bit too small and had to be adjusted. It is possible, but the proportions of the doll may vary from that of the drawing.

About the Doodle Bug

A beloved child in your life has taken great joy in drawing and coloring a truly unique masterpiece, let us bring that artistic creation to Life! It’s called the Doodle Bug, and we can take almost any picture that has been hand-drawn, and Crochet it into an actual doll for you to play with or cherish forever. I mean, how neat is that?! Since this is such a specific creation, and every drawing is so wildly unique and one-of-a-kind, we’ve taken the time to compile some basic information for you about how to go about ordering your own.

  • Drawing must be within certain measurements. All dolls are made true-to-size, so please, nothing smaller than the required measurements. If a larger size is desired, the cost will increase. Please check out THIS post for further details about sizing.
  • No coloring pages, please. Drawing must be original to the artist who drew it. No licensed characters, that is copyright infringement.
  • An initial down payment (which includes a consultation fee) of $20 is required before work can proceed. This includes exchange of email with photographic updates, until the doll is completed to desired results. You can make that payment and start the process of getting your very own Doodle Bug HERE!
  • You can either scan and email the drawing to us, or mail the drawing to FamilyBugs to ensure proper coloring and sizing. Please make sure that the scanner was able to copy correct colors. If mailing the original drawing, it will be protected and returned. Photocopies are also accepted, but be wary of the coloring. Note that heavy crayon may melt and smudge in extreme heat, and markers can smudge and bleed with moisture (I.e. rain or snow). For tips on mailing securely, go HERE. Mailing address will be given at time of down payment.
  • Depending on the complexity of the drawing, an estimate will be provided for the remaining cost. The final price (before shipping and handling) will range from $100-120. This will be required AFTER the doll has been completed to your satisfaction. We will NOT ship until payment has been received.
  • Shipping and Handling is $5 in the United States, and $10 to any other country. The doll will be packaged very carefully to prevent damage as much as possible. Should damages occur, FamilyBugs will fix and repair at no extra cost, but purchaser must cover shipping costs.
  • Most orders will be processed in 5-7 days after the drawing has been received, but keep in mind, these dolls are being carefully created stitch-by-stitch to match a very specific image. Patience is appreciated.
  • Each piece of the drawing is very carefully and securely sewn on to the doll, no glue or chemicals to worry about.
  • Machine washable in cold water on gentle or delicate cycles. Let air dry.
  • Black safety eyes will be used on all dolls regardless of the drawing’s colors. If embroidered eyes in different colors are desired, an additional $10 will be charged.
  • Please specify different parts of the drawing if it is uncertain. I.e. are those wings, or does that monster have a double tail? Is it wearing a crown, or is that the hair? Do you want it symmetrical, or true to the original drawing? Check out THIS blog post for more questions to answer about your drawing.
  • Any other information that you think we might need to make your doll just perfect!

If you have any questions about the drawing you wish to use, or about any of above mentioned points, we would love for you to contact us, and we will work together to figure everything out. As always, thank you for your support!

Blog Post Ideas for the Crochet Artist

Crochet Blog Post IdeasIt is a constant struggle to try to find new blog posts. Especially for a blog such as this one that is very niched. I design crochet patterns. So, what can I write about that will bring fellow crochet-artists to my blog (hopefully, artists who will buy my patterns)? Sure, there are lists upon lists on top of more lists of generic blogging topics and ideas of what to write about. Everyone always seems to say the same thing: make lists, include numbers, top 5 mistakes I made, create tutorials, design Printables. These are all great, but I want something specific to write about. I don’t want to have to further wrack my brain about which of my mistakes I want to write about this time. So, I thought yet another list was in order. I actually researched the top 5 crochet blogs from 2017, and went back through their blog posts and have the following titles listed below! I hope you guys will find this as useful as I continue to use it myself 🙂

Beatrice Ryan Designs

  • CAL – Crochet-a-long (free ongoing pattern)
  • Free Patterns
  • Crocheting for Charity or for a cause

Crea8tion Crochet

  • Pattern collections (colors, holidays, stitches, textures, shapes, yarn type, seasonal, designer, etc.)
  • Write about your own patterns (be sure to include links of where to find it)
  • Free crochet pattern review (use someone else’s free pattern)
  • Crochet book review (with giveaway)

Crochet Dreamz

  • Crochet tips and tricks (changing colors, new stitches, different techniques)
  • Free Crochet patterns
  • New Crochet patterns
  • Pattern round-ups (yours and others)

Daisy Cottage Designs

  • Crochet patterns (reviews, free, new)
  • Pattern collections (similar, complimentary)
  • Printable’s (organizers, wall-art)
  • Round-up of all of your own patterns
  • Skill-specific (beginner, intermediate, expert)

Fiber Flux

  • Crochet-specific unboxing (monthly subscription boxes)
  • Challenges (CAL, de-stashing)
  • Book review and giveaway
  • Free crochet pattern

Crochet Tiny Ninja Pattern

Tiny Ninja Crochet PatternDid you know that December 5 is International Ninja Day? That’s right! I just could not resist creating these tiny Crocheted Ninjas to celebrate, and they are so quick and easy to crochet your own. As I was making these, I kept thinking how perfect they would be for a toddler boy…I mean, you can use them to teach colors, with color sorting and stacking and rainbows, primary colors, secondary colors, etc. If my little ones were still little I would definitely be using these on a regular educational basis!

Anyways, all you need to know to crochet your own tiny ninja is worsted weight yarn (red heart super saver is just PERFECT for these), a crochet hook (I’m really enjoying the F/5-3.75MM size right now), and some stuffing. And then the skills necessary to complete this crochet pattern are minimal and very beginner-friendly: Ch (Chain), ss (slip stitch), sc (single crochet), inc (increase, working two sc in the same stitch), sc2tog (single crochet 2 together), and that’s it!

Tiny ninjas are so quick and easy to crochet up, I managed to make all seven of these in a couple of hours. So much potential. If you need a last minute birthday gift for a 2-yo boy, I can imagine a bunch of these would be so great! Just go to my etsy shop and get the pattern, use up some of your scrap yarn, and have some fun 😀 And check out the CUUUUTE stop motion video I made with the ones that I crocheted…it was a lot of fun to make as well.