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Do you ever feel that your life is one frustration after or another or that the frustrations are all stacked up like so many building blocks. Life has been rather that way here in Oklahoma. Looking out the studio window has been really rare these days. First one thing and then another pulling me away from what “I think” is more important-only to find out it isn’t that important after all.

The continuing saga of the water leak is over. The last little bits done have been done for several weeks now and they don’t seem like that big a deal.  Which is good! We have another construction issue starting this week.

Learning Applied

There have been some learning experiences from all the construction taking place in the house. Painters- have you ever seen professionals at work preparing to do their job. Here is what I am learning from their work and why I am even telling you about all the work we have had done.

  • Clear out the old
  • Plan
  • Prepare for the work
  • Make sure you have the right tools
  • Lay the groundwork or frame work to the best of your ability
  • Be careful and neat while you are working
  • Finish the job
  • Clean up and put your tools away when you are done.

This seems to be a lesson I learn over and over. I tend to dash in and get started without counting the cost, having the yarn or finishing other projects first. This creates a huge backlog of projects in my WIP stack and projects get forgotten.


How to Crochet like a Professional

If we apply all the lessons listed above we can come up with a short list of how to apply this to crocheting.

  1. Clean your yarn bags and baskets out of the old work and yarn from previous projects first
  2. Plan your work, play with the color pegs or yarn to find good color combinations or determine your color range.
  3. Write down or photograph the combinations you want to use.
  4. Practice any new stitches until you are more confident.
  5. Gather all of the tools you need and put them all together in your project bag.
  6. Read through the instructions at least twice to make sure that you have everything.
  7. Check your gauge and crochet
  8. Weave in your stitches as you go. It does make it less tedious at the end and makes it easier to work.
  9. Finish your work completely.  Ask for any help you need before you reach the point of no return on the frustration.
  10. Clean up your tools when you are finished working.


When you take a break in the middle make notes on  the pattern where to begin next if the work is complex,  or at least finish the row or color you are using before you set it aside. Tie off any ends firmly if the color is done so you can continue work later. Tie it off loosely or use a stitch marker (or safety pin) so it doesn’t get frogged if someone picks up your work to Ooh and Ahh over. (Forgive them, they just don’t know any better.) 


Crochet HAS been happening here in the studio, though I have spent a ton of computer time the past few months getting things set up. Though I have to admit that it hasn’t been at the top of the list. There has been a ton of painting happening. While I love crochet sometimes I need a vacation from it and we lost the remote to the television for a week or two. Living a healthier lifestyle has also been a huge contributing factor.


Painting has been happening and it is going extremely well.  Here are a few photos of finished projects.



The armchair is for sale at an art store in town and the stool has already made a customer very happy.


Talk to you later,





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Introducing: Leslie of StymiepieStudios and rockandrollhart

I have been trying to get more clues into what gives artists inspiration. What inspires you and what would make you open an Etsy shop?  There are so many people that want to open a shop. They are creating along and someone says you should sell that! So I asked Leslie of StymiepieStudios a few questions a week or two ago. Here are her answers:

I find inspiration for my art in a random conversation, my mood. a song lyric, my childhood, my hopes and dreams. It can be something as simple as a color that gets my mind going toward a design..and then , somehow , what I see in my mind appears on the paper.

I started on Etsy without knowing I had opened a shop! LOL! My niece knew that I wanted to sell my handpainted kids items on my own for a long time. I was working in a retail store and constantly being told “You should have your own store”.But I was overwhelmed by the unexpected death of my husband and both of my sons leaving for college and it was all I could manage to go to work every day, and run my mural business, painting on nights and weekends. So she opened a shop for me with a few items and then “gave ” it to me as a surprise(.It’s so ironic now..back then, I could barely use the I live on it, running my businesses…).Then we worked on it together for days. which became Stymiepie Studios..and when I had my first sale..that was was all I wanted to do. That was in 2009, and I opened my second shop, Rock and Roll Hart in 2011, to do the art I had been carrying around in my head and heart all of my life. I had met many of the musical artists that I caricature and it was fun to do my version of the people that I knew back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was a 60’s hippie just starting out.

I think the most important advice to someone starting out would be love what you do, cause you’ll work harder at this than any other job you’ve ever had. I work 7 days a week, and rarely take a sick day (my boss is a slave driver!) ..because I’m the one that commits to the customer, and it’s my work and reputation on the line. If I promise to get something done, it’s up to me to do it. I left my 9 to 5 in 2010 and make a full time living from my two shops.I value each customer..many come back over and over and I’m proud of that.
I sell on Artfire and to many online and brick and mortar shops. It’s exciting to see my work all over the country and it helps to have income from different sources. Right now, one of the people that found me here on Etsy, is helping me develop a greeting card line and T shirt line of my Rock and Roll Hart art, that we will be selling nationally..that might not have happened so easily, had i not been on Etsy.

I don’t do craft shows anymore..I don’t have the time. I used to love them, but as my business has grown, the Holidays are my busiest time and I spend most days painting to fill orders. Craft shows are a great way to expand your customer base and get the word out about your product to people that might not see you online. Consignment isn’t a good fit for me as my items are usually personalized and most consigment shops want items to sell at time of purchase.

These past 4 years have been extraordinary, filled with validation of my work and opportunities that I never imagined. Some of the best parts are the friendships and support I have found on Etsy, through the talented artisans I have incredible group of people that aren’t afraid to risk taking a chance to create every day and make a living at it.


You can find Leslie and her beautiful items here:

When you stop by Leslie’s shop or any of her links please say that  you found them at Chocolatedogstudio! I trying to have an artist feature every Friday in an effort to give back to the artist community that has helped me so much.

thanks for stopping by,