Fidget Sensory Toy

Longtime readers have likely noticed that my publication schedule has slowed way down. A big part of this is because our Little Lovely has reached kindergarten age (can you believe it?). After a few years of researching her schooling options, The Animator and I have decided that homeschooling is the best option for our family (fun fact: The Animator himself was also homeschooled).

As I have been spending much of the last few months preparing for LL's first "official" year of homeschooling, Crochet Kitten has unfortunately been pushed to the back burner, but it is not my intention to give it up entirely. While I expect homeschooling to take up much of my previously free time, I do still plan to have Crochet Kitten be what it has been at times in the past in its early years: a place where I can post my patterns, tips, and thoughts when I happen to have something to say, and not something in which I plan a new post every week (which takes up more time than I think most people realize). In this way I can focus more on creating quality posts instead of quantity for quantity's sake. In addition, I have started a new blog to chronicle our homeschooling adventures--where I also plan to post casually when I have something I would like to share--and I would like to invite you all to read it at www.newstonemooracademy.blogspot.com.

All of this said, I have a new pattern to share with you all today! Last year we did a trial run in a local homeschool group that meets one hour a week. While we love this group and made many friends, I discovered that LL had trouble sitting still at her desk while her tutor was talking. Of course, this is a personality trait of hers that we had suspected would cause trouble for her in a traditional school setting (though it is not the only reason we chose to homeschool). That's when I came up with the idea to make a fidget toy for her.

Fidget toys are often used in the autistic and ADHD community for children who have trouble sitting still in class. The idea is to give their hands (or feet) something quiet to do in order to free up their brains to focus on their teacher. I figured if it worked for them, why not LL? Having myself been a child who doodled in class in order to stay focused on the teacher, it made perfect sense to me.

The fidget toy I designed for LL looks like a classic sock monkey, but I used ridged stitches to add physical texture, increasing stripe widths for visual interest, and a springy tail just for fun. And since it's a soft toy, it doesn't make any noise that would be distracting to other children in the class.

Fidget Sensory Toy

Book Review: Make Money Teaching Crochet

Hello, and if you're here visiting from Marie Segares' blog tour, welcome! I have had the pleasure of working with Marie on the CGOA Now! blog, and I have to say, she is one of the most organized and professional crocheters I have ever met. So of course, when she asked if I would review her new book, Make Money Teaching Crochet, I was delighted.

. . . but then I read the book. . . .

. . . and I was blown away!

I brought this on our summer vacation, the time when I vowed to take a break from the business of crochet blogging and just enjoy myself. But I did bring this book along with me for leisure reading, because, come on, who can really go a whole two weeks without any kind of crocheting?

This is a very dangerous book to bring with you on summer vacation. I didn't make it past page 5 before I grabbed a pen and started taking copious notes, wishing I had brought my computer with me. Do you want to start a crochet business? Obviously this is the book for you. Do you already have a crochet business that you'd like to grow? This is the book for you, too.

The gem in this book is in helping the reader to focus their business plan. I'm sure you've heard the old adage that you shouldn't go into business without a business plan, but for those of us who sort of just fell into crochet-as-a-business, Marie teaches the formation of a business plan in a way that isn't scary and that is so logical you'll wonder why you weren't thinking this way the whole time. If you're not convinced you need a business plan, she reveals the questions you need to ask yourself to realize that yes, if you want to have a successful crochet business, you really do need a business plan.

Moving on from that, Marie offers numerous tips for getting organized, whether or not you should get certified (keeping in mind that this book focuses on making money teaching crochet), pros and cons of different payment types, things to consider when determining refund and cancellation policies, how to set prices, and yes, even marketing. I know so many of us are humble crocheters, but Marie has somehow managed to figure out ways in which we can market ourselves that even the shyest crocheter could manage.

Have I gotten you excited yet? Well get ready to get even more excited, because Marie has graciously provided me with a copy of The Ultimate Printable Edition to give away! Enter through the Rafflecopter to win--but be warned. This is for serious readers only, not vacation reading (winky smiley face).

The giveaway is open worldwide to entries through midnight Eastern time July 5th, 2016. The winner  will be announced on Wednesday, July 6th, 2016.