Megan Recommends

Megan Recommends blog series

In my “Megan Recommends” blog series I share with you things I have been loving lately, whether they be computer applications, movies, cooking tools, etc. In this instalment, I share with you some items that have been helping me calm my busy, often anxious, mind. If you need a little help with relaxing, maybe they will help you, too!

My big fancy day planner:

I tried using multiple different apps and calendars on my computer and phone to keep myself organized, plan my days, and get my ideas down, but I just wasn’t sticking with them and everything was just staying in my head. But, trying to keep all my plans and to-do lists in my head was not working so great either ūüėź

In comes a big and pretty planner! I went to Michael’s and purchased an actual paper planner (just like the good old days) and started using it to plan my weeks. My planner is a Happy Planner, which is a large line of planners with matching accessories (such as stickers, washi tape, and folders). I got my planner in July and it is for a year and a half (and are probably on sale now!), but you can also get ones that start in January and¬†are for just a year.¬†planner

The planners are pretty and functional on their own, so you don’t need all the ad-ons, but if they inspire you, then go for it!¬†There are some folks out there that make absolutely beautiful planners – they really are works of art – but for me, just writing in the planner is enough of an investment. On Etsy you can find artists selling their own handmade planner accessories, such as stickers and bookmarks, so you can really make your planner unique. My friend Krystle of Heartsprinkle has started making some really adorable bee ones!

The Headspace app:

Headspace is a meditation app for your computer or phone. Now, don’t get scared away by¬†the word “meditation”. This isn’t your stereotypical¬†chanting, incense burning, cross-legged, gong banging meditation, but a down to earth, daily, mind calming practice for everyone.
headspace

I have always liked the idea of meditating and thought maybe it would help my anxious monkey mind, but could never get into the habit of practising it daily Рplus I always felt a little awkward doing it. But Andy Puddicombe, the creator and voice behind Headspace, makes meditation accessible to anyone. You can watch him talk about it in his TED talk.

The app gives you 10 free guided meditations that are just 10 minutes long, the first stepping stones to getting into the habit and learning what meditation is all about. Then you can subscribe to gain access to a variety of different guided meditations with different themes and lengths.

The app has cute little cartoon characters that star in short videos that guide you along in understanding the concepts of meditation, making the concepts easier to grasp, understand, and actually implement. Plus, you can have the app send you reminders each day to practice, as well as follow and encourage other friends who are enjoying the app with you. I highly recommend at least giving it a try and testing out those first 10 free sessions for yourself.

My gym membership:

Growing up I danced several times a week at a dance studio. I did tap, jazz, ballet, and modern. I was super active for hours each week. Then I went to university and I continued to take dance classes, as well as gym classes such as step class and kick boxing. I remained really active. Then I finished¬†school and didn’t have access to a gym anymore, and the cardio sort of ended. I didn’t have that outlet of energy, that break from being stationary, anymore. Walking a lot wasn’t enough, I needed to sweat and get my heart pumping again! So I joined the YMCA (a popular gym found throughout North America).

I don’t enjoy running around a track or on a treadmill, or even running around the woods. I like to do cardio that makes me think, that has choreography, that gives me no choice but to think about the exercise, otherwise I would get totally lost. When walking or running my mind wanders (even when listening to a podcast or audiobook). So when I go to the Y, I am always there for a class with an instructor. Classes such as step or Zumba (a dance fitness class) keep me so engaged I am more mindful of the activity and my brain gets a break from my usual thoughts. There are of course the many physical benefits of exercise, but I actually started going to the gym again because I noticed a change in my mental state when I wasn’t¬†going. If you also struggle with an overly anxious body or mind, give the gym a try, especially the super fun dance classes – everyone looks silly doing them, but everyone is focused on themselves anyway, so let loose!

For cuteness sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my amigurumi newsletter to receive emails filled with ami fun. You can also follow me on facebook, twitter, instagram, and pinterest to keep up to date on all things hookabee.

Until next time,
hookabee signature

 

Tutti Frutti CAL: results!

tuttifruttiCAL

It has been a little bit since the Tutti Frutti CAL ended, but I have been away so haven’t had the chance to share the winners on my blog until now! This CAL was so much fun. Participants could either make one of my new berries or Bill the Pineapple as an entry into a draw to win some prizes.¬†Fruit amigurumi pattern by @hookabeeYou can check out all the entries on ravelry in the CAL thread. I was super impressed with how many fruit amigurumi were made! And of course with how adorable they were.

To determine the winners, I numbered all the entries and then used random.org to draw 3 numbers. The first number won a hook from HeartSprinkle and a hookabee pattern, while the next two numbers each won a hookabee pattern.

And the winners were…

3rd Place: Wendy with her Dave the Blueberry!

3rd_LittleWcrochet

2nd Place: Carrey with her Bill the Pineapple!

2nd_MixedKreations

1st Place: Michaela with her Meg the Raspberry!

1st_CraftyMichaela

Thank you to all who participated and for cheering each other on. Also a big thanks to Krystle of HeartSprinkle for providing a super fun prize – a crochet hook with a custom handmade handle.

Now to think about the next hookabee CAL…yay!

For cuteness sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my amigurumi newsletter to receive emails filled with ami fun, including exclusive interviews, sneak peeks, discounts, and links from around the web.
Until next time,
hookabee signature

 

Review: HeartSprinkle Hooks and Stitch Markers

HeartSprinkleReviewNot long ago I was mailed two handmade crochet hooks by Krystle of HeartSprinkle. Krystle sculpts beautiful handles for metal crochet hooks using polymer clay. Her favourite hook to make is her signature honey bee hook, and I was lucky enough to receive two of them as a gift!

Krystle makes her handles on any brand of metal hook, so you can choose your favourite Рwhether it be a Susan Bates, Boye, or Clover Amour hook, she can make a unique personalized handle for it. I chose to have one handle made on a Susan Bates hook because I had never tried an in-line hook before, and one on my all time favourite Clover Amour hook.HeartSprinkleHooks

What I love most about these hooks are the small details. Each has a cute little bee with little translucent¬†wings flying over hand painted clouds and flowers. The green around the flowers shimmers and there is a fun dotted trail leading from the bee’s hive to the bee. The end of the handle is stamped and imprinted with a letter indicating the hook size, plus there are additional imprints on the body of the handle: the hook size in mm and the HeartSprinkle logo.HookCollage

The handle is smooth and warm, so nice to hold. It is a large handle, so does take some getting used to if you are accustomed to holding only the thin metal hooks, but with time it feels natural to hold. Krystle has tested her handles for strength, so they will not break or crumble if they are mishandled (mine have survived a few drops off my desk onto hardwood floor!).

If you want to see the hook in action and up close, just watch one of my more recent tutorial videos: joined rounds in amigurumi, stripes in joined rounds, and joining legs in joined rounds.

Along with my two hooks, I also received a set of stitch markers. They are ADORABLE. One is a little bee, with a neat black bead for a head, a little beehive, and a small flower. All match perfectly with the bee hook design. Each has a lobster claw clasp, which I am not a huge fan of for amigurumi because they can be tricky to open and with amigurumi you need to move the marker a lot, but they work great if they are staying in one place for a while, or for my knitting (I hook them onto a ring marker for larger needles). Krystle also makes markers with a simpler hook which are easier to place and remove (see the heart marker below).StitchMarkers

Overall, the hooks and stitch markers are really fun to work with and make my time crocheting a little more special and personal. You can tell a lot of care went into making each item. Krystle is a great artist who obviously takes great pride in her work and has a true love for crochet Рincluding a love for amigurumi! You can see more of her art work, not just polymer clay, on her Instagram Рshe creates adorable kawaii drawings, too.

If you want to learn more about Krystle and her work, visit her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Etsy.  Have a special request? Just drop her a message on Etsy!

Krystle is my go to sponsor for my amigurumi CALs, so if you want to win a hook for yourself, stay tuned for news on the latest hookabee CALs and join in!

For cuteness sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my amigurumi newsletter to receive emails filled with ami fun. You can also follow me on facebook, twitter, instagram, and pinterest to keep up to date on all things hookabee.
Until next time,
hookabee signature